Monday, May 26, 2008

Question from Nicole - Anne Boleyn's other jewelry

What other jewelry did Anne Boleyn have besides her "B" necklace? I know she also had an "A" and an "AB" necklace but is any other jewelry known? I was also hoping for pictures if anyone knows of any.


Foose said...

This is difficult, since there are no records of jewels currently existing that positively belonged to Anne Boleyn. Plus jewels were constructed in the 16th century to be detachable and reassembled for various uses. Plus the royal family seemed to redistribute "crown jewels" among themselves, so various wives and daughters got the jewelry of previous wives.

We know from his letters Henry gave Anne "my picture set in a bracelet with the device you already know." Around 1531 he gave her twenty-one diamonds and twenty-one rubies set upon roses and hearts for Mistress Anne" and "nineteen diamonds set in trueloves of crown gold." But I've never seen these jewels mentioned subsequently. They likely were incorporated into jewels for other queens.

Anonymous said...

Anne appears to have owned an array of jewellery although the fate of the pieces is unclear.

We know that in May 1532 about three dozen pieces of jewellery was purchased for Anne according to Cornelius Hayes’ bill (the amount came to nearly £100). Amongst the items included a girdle of crown gold and a Catherine wheel of gold set with thirteen diamonds. Holbein designed for Anne a pendant with a central stone with the initials 'H' and 'A' intertwined. She also owned a broach with 'RA' – ‘Regina Anna' set in diamonds.

Eric Ives in his biography on Anne suggests that Elizabeth, Anne's daughter, may have been allowed some of her mother's jewellery including her pearls (he believes that the pearls Elizabeth wears in the famous portrait of her as a young girl, are similar to the pearls depicted in certain portraits of her mother. Although in this case the 'B' pendant has been replaced).

As foose mentioned, it is possible that the jewels were reused by other queens (so alterations made like removing the 'B' pendant from the pearls and then given to someone else). Considering the price of many of the pieces it would have been practical to re-alter them for someone else.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your answers!

Foose said...

David Loades, in his "Life and Career of William Paulet," says that at Jane Seymour's funeral: "Lady Paulet ... received several pieces at the customary hand out of the deceased queen's jewels." I don't know how long this custom lasted or whether it was observed for every queen or former queen, but it might explain where some of the jewels ultimately went.

Lucy Churchill said...


I have just recently made a reconstruction of Anne Boleyn's The Moost Happi portrait medal.

Through studying the original (in the Coins and Medals department of the British Museum), I was able to make out the details Anne's necklace and jewelled headdress.
It is the same necklacethat Jane Seymour is wearing in the Holbein portrait.
(The cross has been replaced, and is replaced again with a different pendant in later depictions).
In the medal, when viewed close up, one can clearly see a fine diagonal weave in the cloth folded close to her head. The sequence of the jewels around the gable hood match the sequence of jewels in the necklace. Again, this matches that worn in Jane Seymour's portrait.

Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr are also painted wearing the same necklace (and Lady Jane Grey, but as it is unlikely she had access to the Queens Jewels during her short reign, these depictions are now considered to be of Catherine Parr).

If you are interested, you can see my copy of the Moost Happi medal- in which the damaged features have been restored here:
and you can read my blog in which I discuss the research and the making of it here: (12 May 2012)