All that glitters

Sometimes what an archive labels a recipe book yields some unexpected treasures. While browsing through a recipe and account book in Nottinghamshire University Library, I came across two successive lists of the compiler’s jewellery, which give a fascinating glimpse into eighteenth-century bling.

The jewellery belonged to Dorothy Gore (1683-1738), daughter of Sir William Gore, Lord Mayor of London, and wife of Joseph Mellish of Blyth Hall in Nottinghamshire. This was a fashionable red-brick house built in the grounds of a former priory (you can see pictures of it at http://lh.matthewbeckett.com/houses/lh_nottinghamshire_blythhall_info_gallery.html).

Dorothy listed ‘An account of my jewells March the 19 1707’, around two years after her marriage:

A pare of eareings of 4 large roses & 2 crost bars

7 large rowses for a cross

25 brilents

1 larg brilent ring sett round with smale ones

1 ring sett with brilents

4 roses sett round with sparks in eareings

70 single roses

49 large pearls in a necklace

1 emrald

1 gold girdle buckle

By 1718, around the time the last of her six children was born, she had a more extensive collection:

A pair of eareings sett round with sparks & crosses

1 large dimond the midle of a necklace

 47 small dimonds strunge in a necklace & 6 besides

2 small dimonds upon pins & a pare eareings with peirle drops

A pair of large dimond eareing three drops & barrs

49 large peirles in a necklace & a large dimond clasp

1 briliant girdle buckle

1 gold girdle buckle

1 large rose dimond & 6 briliants

1 briliant ring sett round

1 large briliant sett round the finger with smale

1 gold snuff box

1 large emrald & 3 lockets

A locket of peirle belonging to the emrald

1 hair ring of my mothers hair 3 gold rings

1 briliant in a ring a pickture of my brother

Eighteen months later there was some further additions:

63 small peirles in a necklace with a hair clasp

Sett round with dimonds sm

31 peirles spare

This seems quite a collection, and a varied one, with the diamonds, pearls and other elements able to be put to various uses. It’s just a shame we don’t have any photos!

ME/2E/1, Nottinghamshire University Library.

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