Glittering prizes;Flash points in the history of jewellery;Discover jewellery;Discovery series

23rd July 1999 at 01:00
(Photograph) - 1671: the only attempt to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London was made by Colonel Thomas Blood (left). Disguised as a clergyman, he nicked the crown and orb but was chased and caught. When Charles II pardoned him, then gave him a country estate, rumours spread that the King himself, feeling strapped for cash, had been behind the plot.

1896: gold was discovered in the Yukon territories of Canada, precipating the Klondike Gold Rush. It lasted for five years and generated an estimated $50 million in gold.

1995: the world's most expensive ring, set with a 13-carat fancy deep blue diamond, was sold for pound;4.7 million at Christie's, New York.

1995: Asprey amp; Co made a fabulous fake sapphire and diamond necklace, which starred as the "Heart of the Ocean" in the film "Titanic". Three years later, they made a real version for Kate Winslet to wear to the Oscar ceremony. It was later auctioned for a rumoured $2.1 million in aid of the Princess Diana Memorial Fund.

1990s: Wendy Ramshaw, whose work is exhibited at the Vamp;A, uses all manner of materials in her designs, including brass, copper, wood, acrylic, resin, leather, titanium, rock crystal, shells, pebbles and even rubber in addition to the more traditional enamels and stones.

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