Cafe Owner Uncovers Heart-Shaped Pendant Linked to King Henry VIII in Field: 'Once in a Generation Find'
An amateur metal detectorist in England uncovered a "once in a generation find" while exploring a field in Warwickshire.
One day in 2019, cafe owner Charlie Clarke, who had only been metal detecting for six months, was just about to call it quits when his equipment started making a high-pitched noise near a pond, according to The Guardian. Eventually, he uncovered a startling discovery that made him shriek "like a little schoolgirl," per the newspaper.
He had unearthed a golden necklace with a heart-shaped pendant featuring a Tudor rose entwined with a pomegranate bush, a symbol of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, reported CNN. It also featured the letters "H" and "K" linked together, their initials, along with an inscription that read "TOVS" and "IORS," a pun on the French word "toujours," which means "always," per the outlet.
"It was just outstanding," Clarke told CNN.
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In order to find out more, Clarke reached out to a number of experts, per CNN. The item eventually made its way into the hands of Rachel King, a British Museum curator of Renaissance Europe, who called it a "once in a generation find."
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"What is this? Is this for real?" she recalled thinking. "And it was such a challenge to me in the sense that could this be 19th century, could it be just costume jewelry?"
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After testing the object, she eventually pinpointed its origins to some time before 1530, though she wasn't able to connect the pendant directly to King Henry VIII or Katherine of Aragon, according to The Guardian. Instead she told the newspaper that "its quality is such that it was certainly either commissioned by or somehow related to a member of the higher nobility or a high-ranking courtier."
However, the details remain a mystery.
"We don't know why it was in Warwickshire and who had it there. At least not yet," remarked King.
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While the necklace hasn't been appraised yet, Clarke told The Guardian that he would split the money he received with the landowner of the field.
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As for what he would do with that sum, Clarke told the newspaper he wants to make sure his 4-year-old son Charlie — who wants to grow up to become a treasure hunter — has "the best education possible."
"That's all it's really about," he said.