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England Jewelry attractions

Hi, just got back from a quick trip London–what a wonderful place!
Five days was not nearly enough to see everything on our list, but
we crammed in as much as humanly possible.

My daughter was thrilled to see Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, and watch
the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace; my sister-in-law
raved about a chandelier hand-blown by Dale Chihuly; my husband
insisted on riding The London Eye (a gigantic “ferris wheel” that
gives a bird’s-eye view of London).

It may sound strange, but I was especially interested in details:
Wrought-iron railings, plaster moldings, gilding, tile patterns, the
delicate engraving on armor, etc. I spent a lot of time staring up
at second stories and wishing for a telephoto lens on the camera.

For those of you who have visited England: What sights interested
you the most?


  For those of you who have visited England: What sights
interested you the most? 

Believe it or not, one thing was the graveyards at small country
churches. As an American, I’m just not used to anything that old. I
loved the Dali exhibit I saw in London, and Electrum gallery, but
probably our best day was one my daughter and I spent hiking in the
Cotswolds. You can legally walk almost anywhere in England. On a
dirt track up a hill, there was a tiny stream of water trickling
steadily down, lined with exposed pebbles. Quite a few looked like
swirled shades of blue opaque glass, in an area with no sign of
industry anywhere, in the woods. I picked some up and cut cabs
(something I have only the most basic ability to do) for memento
rings for us. So far, no one has been able to ID the material.

I loved London and the little of England I saw, and I think their
local cheeses are the absolute best!


For those of you who have visited England: What sights interested
you the  most?

The Crown Jewels in the Tower of London were incredible. There were
signs stating that no photography was allowed, and the guards were a
nuisance. I was trying to use my telephoto lens as a telescope to get
a better look at the pieces through the thick glass cases, and even
though I was NOT taking pictures, the guards kept yelling at me…

I also enjoyed St. Paul’s catherdral. We were in England on a choral
performance tour, and I believe we were the only American choir
allowed to perform there in 2001. Interestingly echo-y acoustics made
singing difficult, but the history of the place and the honor of
being allowed to sing there really touched me deeply. Actually, I
loved every minute of being in England, and I’d go back in a

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Motif Jewelry

Hello Janet and Orchidians,

I, too, found the architectural details most fascinating. The Tower
of London is very touristy, but awe-inspiring when one considers
that the site was in use before the Norman invasion in 1066!! Of
course the Crown Jewels are housed at the Tower complex and I loved
the stories about the various stones and monarchs.

The Victoria and Albert Museum (the “V&A”) has a wonderful exhibit
of jewelry. My disappointment was that I didn’t discover it until
about an hour before closing - just not enough time to properly see
the whole collection.

My next visit will include a trip to Stonehenge and the castles
built in the Middle Ages.

Judy in Kansas, where the hummingbirds are back!

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
B.A.E. 237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhatttan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936 FAX (785) 532-6944

The British Museum and the Victoria and Albert museum are must-see
places for the jeweller…I could spend a whole week at the BM and
still be rushed…the inspiration one derives from seeing all the
ancient jewellery is unquantifiable…

Steve Holden

I live in England and used to work in London, and here is something
I was once told - don’t just look around you, look up. Some of the
best architectural detail is above eye-level, and one of the most
fascinating things you will see are false and bricked-up windows.
Some centuries ago when window glass was expensive, there was a tax
on windows (governments will tax anything!), so buildings often had
window openings that had been filled in and painted to look as though
they had glass in them, or were simply bricked up. Sometimes this was
done when the building was put up, to maintain the symmetry of the
building’s appearance, or it was done to cut down the tax bill.


As jeweller – the workmanship on the Sutton Hoo treasures in the
British Museum.

Bill Bedford

In case it has not been recommended I would also check out what is
happening at Goldsmith’s Hall. In addition, a walk through the
Silver Vaults (no converted into shops selling antique silver is also


Hi Janet,

I had the priviledge of living in Wales for a year and a half in the
middle 70’s. As a military man I found it most advantageous to get
away from where all the other Americans regurlarly hung out. At the
time the “Yanks” had a terrible habit of acting like arrogant asses
and that didn’t sit well with the local populace. I’d make it a
point to get way out in the country where most Americans didn’t care
to go, find any one of numerous small villages, and hit the local
pub. If you behaved yourself the people would take you in and treat
you like family. They very frequently took me to see hidden ruins,
standing stones and the like. One family showed me a stash of silver
cups, spoons and the like that they’d found hidden away in the
thatching of the man’s grandmothers place. The house had long since
fallen into a state of disrepair and, while they were poking around
in it trying to decide if it was worth refurbishing, they found about
70 pieces of silver goodies. They claimed that it was in the region
of 300-400 years old. I couldn’t verify that but it was fascinating
to look at the toolmarks on this obviously old, hand made treasure.
It was something I’d have never seen if I’d stayed on the beaten
track. Out in the toolies, in the tiny little places are stories and
treasures to boggle the mind. I think it’s the best way to visit a
foreign country.


My sister and her husband live in England, so we have visited a
number of times. Stonehenge is wonderful, but I personally like
Avebury better. It is up the Salisbury plain from Stonehenge, I
think maybe older, with a huge mound, a burial mound that you can go
into, an archaeology museum, an old tithing barn that is a wonderful
museum, and a huge ring of stones - they go through and partly around
the village. You can walk among the stones and trenches and mounds,
right up to them - unlike Stonehenge. Also much fewer people!

If you go to Stonehenge be sure and do Old Sarum - it is the
original Salisbury, an old Roman fort, and really nice. If you can
manage to be there when they are doing a reenactment it is well worth

We also love Cornwall - great houses and gardens and sea.

Yorkshire is wonderful - good hikes. If you get up there, and ride
at all, do one of the guided excursions across the Yorkshire Moors -
this is how people used to travel, and it is almost like going back
in time. Really quite an incredible experience.

There is an archaeology museum in York that is excellent.

I love getting the marvelously detailed British maps, and just
exploring. I have driven my rental cars across some rather amazing

In London, the Victoria and Albert is my hands down favorite. Not
just the jewelry, which is wonderful, but they have an amazing
collection of holloware also! Plus glass, and furniture. We went
when my dd was 9, and she spent an entire day sketching their
historical clothing collection! I thought I was going to go nuts.
Historic clothing does not “do” anything for me, but she was, and is,
rather passionate about it!

If you are or were a Scout (Girl or Boy) be sure to go to the Scout
headquarters! The Girl Scout (Girl Guides in all of the world
except the US I believe) is Pax Lodge, and included dormitories you
can reserve to stay in - inexpensive motel sort of thing.

Some of my best memories are of things we fell into - I deliberately
leave time now for serendipity to happen when I travel! We have
found reenactments, village fetes, craft shows, etc., just purely by
chance, and had wonderful experiences.

I could go on all day - it is obviously time to go see my sister

Beth in SC

I did not have much time on my only trip to England but I too enjoyed
the Victoria and Albert museum. I also enjoyed Stonehenge although we
were not there long. It is cold, windswept and very impressive. I am
interested in the bits and pieces of how people lived in the past so
I also enjoyed the tourist type trips through old buildings and new
old buildings like the Globe theater. I had no time to try to find
galleries etc.

Marilyn Smith

The site of the Tower of London was indeed in use before 1066 -
London goes back to Roman times and further - but the White Tower,
the first part to be built, was built by William I (William The
Conqueror) shortly after the Conquest in 1066.

As jeweller -- the workmanship on the Sutton Hoo treasures in the
British Museum. 

The Sutton Hoo treasures are fabulous. For the sake of completion,
I’d also recommend a visit to the Sutton Hoo archeological site, in
the beautiful Suffolk countryside.

The Suffolk coast near Aldeburgh and Thorpeness has starkly
beautiful shingle beaches. Noel, is your stone flint? There’s a lot
of flint in England, and it’s very weird looking to my eye; though my
partner says “it’s just a stone.” Shingle is polished stones between
5-20 mm’s.

If you continue up the coast to Southwold, you can have lunch on the
Southwold Pier and see the great automata by Tim Hunkin.

Follow that with a Flake cone and you’ve had a day at the English

Christine in Littleton, Massachusetts
No one deserves lung cancer.