Arbella’s jewels… what’s listed in the inventory?


A lady holding a sable with jewelled head and claws (a zibellino) in her right hand, just like Arbella’s, c.1595

If you’ve been struggling with the handwriting in our 45th treasure, the list of Arbella Stuart’s jewels, here’s a transcription.  I whiled away a train journey by having a go at this. It’s by no means perfect, so If you have any alternative suggestions for some of the words, do please leave a comment below.

These Jewels Chaines Pearle rings and other things
here underwritten recewed by the lady Arbella Steward
of the lord Cavendishe this xxiij daye of february in
the fift[h] yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord King
James 1607
A riche Sable the head and Clawes of goldsmith worke
enamelled and sett wth diamonds and rubies
Two borders of goldsmithes worke on[e] peece of one of them sett
wth one peece set wth Two[?] p[ear]le a rubie another peece set with a diamond
another peece set with a rubie and soe throughout the other of the
borders sette with one peece set wth foure round p[ear]le another pee[ce]
sett wth a diamond and soe throughout
A Chaine of blood stone and goldsmyth worke
Fowre score and eight buttons enameled wth blacke and three
white snailes a peece
Thirteene wyre work buttons Two more
A Cloke[?] sett wth diamonds and rubies
A globe set wth diamond and rubies wth a p[ear]le pendant
A seale lyke a pillar sett wth rubie diamond and emerald
Another border of goldsmyth worke one peece set wth a diamond
another peece set wth five p[ear]le and soe throughout this of
seaventeene peces
Two rope of p[ear]le contayninge syxe score and five greater p[ear]le
Another border of gold smyth worke of nintene peecs one peece
set with foure p[ear]les and another peece set wth an emerald and soe
One crose set wth diamonds with a p[ear]le pendant
Another greater crosse set wth diamond rubies and fyve round p[ear]le
A Broorse set with rock rubie and an emerald & a diamond
An ewre [ewer] of christall trimmed with gould and set wth rubies and tur…es [turquoise?]
A salte [salt-cellar] of Agget [agate] trymmed wth gould and set wth emerald
Three gold rings upon a pap[?]
A greate table diamond in one ring a pointed diamond in another and a rock rubie
in another
Thirtie eight p[ear]le of black and white agget enameled […]
Three score eightene […] enameled

4 thoughts on “Arbella’s jewels… what’s listed in the inventory?

    • I think you’re right. Having checked the complete Oxford English Dictionary, ‘salt’ is definitely used as a word for ‘salt-cellar’. As it is listed next to the ewer, then it does sound as if they had got to the jewelled tableware by that point in the inventory. Thanks!

    • Thanks, I agree that brooch seems like a sensible bet. The word is definitely spelled Broorse in the inventory, though a look at the complete Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t bring up any suitable definition for ‘broorse’. As people wrote phonetically at the time, maybe the scribe pronounced brooch in a peculiar way…?

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