Acquired in 2017, this rare locket conceals secrets which may shed new light on the Renaissance in Scotland.

Join our study afternoon as curators and conservators discuss their work into unravelling the mysteries of this precious object. In partnership with Royal Collection Trust.



from 13:30  

Registration at the Auditorium, level 1. Entry to the National Museum of Scotland via Chambers Street.

You are also invited to the Palace of Holyroodhouse from 17:00 to view the Darnley Jewel, one of the finest jewels in the Royal Collection. The Jewel is on display in Mary Queen of Scots’ Chambers at the Palace. Sign up when registering.


Welcome and introduction to the Fettercairn Jewel

An outstanding piece of 16th century craftsmanship, featuring a large gemstone and exquisite enamel decoration, the Fettercairn Jewel casts new light on the magnificence of the Renaissance in Scotland. It was recently acquired thanks to the generosity of Art Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Museums Scotland Charitable Trust. 

David Forsyth is Principal Curator of Renaissance and Early Modern History collections in the department of Scottish History and Archaeology at National Museums Scotland.


Researching the Fettercairn Jewel

The Fettercairn Jewel holds the potential to significantly expand our knowledge of the Scottish Renaissance, about the way in which a visually literate society communicated complex messages through objects, and to learn more about the quality and ambitions of 16th-century craftsmanship.

Jewels of this sort often contained complex messages. Could the animals and flowers have a heraldic association with the original owner of the Jewel?  Is some more complex story hidden in its imagery? These are all questions we will ask and hope to answer.

Helen Wyld is Senior Curator of Historic Textiles in the department of Art & Design at National Museums Scotland.


Conservation and scientific analysis of the Fettercairn jewel

The Fettercairn Jewel is one of a very small number of Renaissance jewels to have survived in the British Isles. Jewellery from such an early date has a very low survival rate, due to the historic recycling of precious stones and materials. This talk will illustrate the investigative conservation work and scientific analysis undertaken in the ongoing research of the jewel.

Stefka Bargazova is Artefacts Conservator in the Collections Services department at National Museums Scotland.

Lore Troalen is Analytical Scientist in the Collections Services department at National Museums Scotland.


Tea, coffee and biscuits served in Events Space.


The Darnley Jewel         

The Darnley Jewel, now in the Royal Collection and on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, was probably commissioned during the 1570s by Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, as a memorial for her husband Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox and Regent of Scotland. It was in the collection of Horace Walpole and later acquired by Queen Victoria. Like the Fettercairn Jewel, the Darnley Jewel is illustrated with complex iconography and has a Scottish provenance.

Deborah Clarke is Senior Curator, Royal Collection Trust, at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.


Panel discussion and audience Q&A chaired by David Forsyth


Final commentary and conclusion from David Forsyth


Event close. Opportunity to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse and view the Darnley Jewel from 17:00.          


Museum closes. 

The Fettercairn Jewel is currently on display in the Kingdom of the Scots gallery, near to the 
Penicuik Jewels, which are associated with Mary, Queen of Scots.

Acquired with support from the Art Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Art Fund  Heritage Lottery Fund

Explore more

The Fettercairn Jewel

Acquired in 2017, this rare jewelled and enamelled locket conceals secrets which could shed new light on the Scottish Renaissance. Join us on a journey of discovery as our curators, conservators and scientists work to unravel its mysteries.
Event information


12 Jun 2018
14:00 – 16:30.


Auditorium, Level 1. Entry via Chambers Street.

How much

£10, £8 Members & Conc.

Booking information

Book online, in person or call 0300 123 6789

Book now
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