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Culture & Religion

Putting 17th-Century Jewelry Into Museum Visitors’ Hands

Not literally: For an upcoming exhibit, the Museum of London will display detailed 3D-printed replicas that people can hold. From them, researchers also hope to learn jewelry-making techniques that are all but lost.

What’s the Latest Development?


An upcoming Museum of London exhibit featuring Elizabethan- and Jacobean-era jewelry won’t be entirely off-limits to visitors’ hands, thanks to Birmingham City College researchers. Using a scanner and a 3D printer, they created highly detailed replicas that will be displayed alongside the original works. Among these is the Ferlite watch, named after its creator and dating from around 1600. Its relatively advanced features — including calendar and alarm functions — have led researchers to dub it “the iPod of its day.”

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What’s the Big Idea?

The items are part of the Cheapside Hoard collection, which was originally discovered in a London cellar just over 100 years ago. In addition to making 3D-printed replicas of the Ferlite watch available for public view, the team plans to use them to learn the jeweler’s secrets. Team member Ann-Marie Carey says, “[W]e must look at the Elizabethan and Jacobean age as being just as advanced in some ways [as our civilization]. We fear some of these 400-year-old processes may now be lost to us.”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at New Scientist


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