This piece of jewellery is a gold annular brooch with two cabochon settings – one sapphire, and one garnet/ruby. The brooch is approximately 2cm across and just under 1cm tall, whilst the cabochons are c. 2mm across. The brooch was found by a metal detectorist in 2001 to the south of Warwick. It dates to the 14th century and is likely to be a high status object; the red and blue stones (usually sapphire and garnet, occasionally ruby) are seen in other examples of medieval jewellery.
Who did the brooch belong to?
We will never know the name of the owner, but there are some clues. The gold and semi-precious stones, and the quality of the decoration, show that this was a high status object. The size of the brooch and its pins suggest it was attached to fine wool or linen, or possibly even silk.
Brooches like these are seen in pictures and on sculptures of noble women of the time. As the Warwick example was found on the castle side of the town could the owner have lived there, or were they a guest of the Earl of Warwick? What we do know is that the brooch was lost about 700 years ago.
In 2015, this brooch was included in a 3D scanning and printing project at Warwickshire Museum, in partnership with Pangolin Digital. We now have a bronze version of this brooch (without the stone settings) which is five times bigger than the original.
This means visitors to the Market Hall Museum will have the opportunity to see up close the craft of the medieval jeweller.