Cynthia Rutledge - Contemporary Designs of Timeless Elegance
Madame Royale: Treasures from the Captain's Chest Kit
©2015 by Cynthia Rutledge

Madame Royale: Treasures from the Captain's Chest ©2015 by Cynthia Rutledge

A stormy night, officer unrest and a near mutiny, found the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción in dire straights. She was the largest Spanish galleon built in her time, as well as the richest. She was laden with Chinese silks & rugs, spices, porcelain, ivory, between one million to four million silver pesos, assorted jewelry, pearls, emeralds and gold dust. A King's ransom!

On September 20, 1638 the galleon tried desperately to clear Saipan's Agingan Point (a point on the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean, 120 miles north of Guam) but was hurled into the reef by towering waves and pulverized against the coral, spilling ballast and cargo from the gaping holes below the waterline. Most of her crew, along with the wealthy merchants that were on board went down with her.

Because of unusual circumstances, she traveled without an inventory of her cargo but the excavation (begun in 1993) yielded more than 1,300 pieces of 22.5-karat gold jewelry - chains, crucifixes, beads, buckles, filigree buttons, rings and brooches set with precious stones. The Concepción wreck site yielded a time capsule of early 17th-century jewelry and has proved that European-style jewelry was being made in the Philippines.

Madame Royale: Treasures from the Captain's Chest ©2015 by Cynthia RutledgeThe loss of the Concepción proved very costly to the Spanish crown. King Phillip IV of Spain (1605-1665) and his Queen Consort, Elisabeth of France (1602-1644) must have been devastated by the news. The Queen Consort was the daughter of Henry IV of France and Queen Marie de' Medici and their first female child. She was given the name of Madame Royale to proclaim her status.

The most expensive jewelry would have been secured in the Captain's chest. My inspiration came from utilizing some of the imagery taken of the jewelry recovered from the Concepción and the paintings of the lovely Queen Consort, Elisabeth.

Three dimensional, peyote stitched, triangular shapes are fitted with bezeled teardrop CZ's. Linked together with ladder-stitched strips, this beautiful chain is fit for a Queen. A pearl chain completes the necklace ending with two lovely buttons and a bezeled CZ connector. Maybe some day the excavators will find the back of the Concepción and find the Captain's chest. Who knows what may be inside!

Skill level:
Intermediate to advanced

Necklace length:
17 ½ inches


Workshops | SHOP | Kits | Calendar | About the Artist | Contact Info | Home