The Lost Jewels is a story about a mysterious, 500 piece collection of jewels buried for centauries now known as the Cheapside Hoard. Doing some research on this, it seems that at some time during the 1600’s in Cheapside London, a huge cache of beautiful jewels was buried. No one knows why. It may have had to do with the fire of London, the Plague, or the Civil War, but the cache was buried in the dirt under a cellar. In the summer of 1912, renovations were taking place and the workmen discovered this large treasure; it now resides in a Museum in London.
Kirsty Manning has written an historical fantasy giving her thoughts on how the jewels came to be buried, but also where they might have come from and the people involved in their passage through time. It is quite fascinating to read of the diamond mining carried out in Golconda in India, in about 1630; also, to follow the journey of that particular stone as it passed from hand to hand. (via a small boy’s inner eyelid).
There are many time changes in the book as the story revolves around a present-day Jewellery Historian named Kate. She has been asked to write about the Cheapside Exhibition, and to research some of the jewels. There is a personal element to this, as Kate’s grandmother, who came from Ireland to Boston, has a button similar to ones in the Hoard.
While Kate is travelling to India to see where the diamonds came from, and to Sri Lanka to see where the sapphires came from, she researches each piece and comes up with some remarkable information. At the same time, she is filling in the gaps in her Grandmother’s life and trying to discover how she may have come by the button.
The story moves backward and forward between the 1600’s to the present day, and the reality of the social history from those times is tough. It’s hard to get the sparkle of diamonds and sapphires and rubies out of your mind, so well are they described, but the story is rounded out by a warm romance. Most enjoyable.
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|