An amateur detectorist in England made a thrilling discovery that history experts almost did not believe.
Charlie Clarke was a rookie metal detectorist — someone who uses a metal detector as a hobby — in 2019 when he found an ornate gold pendant in Warwickshire, England, CNN reported Thursday.
Engraved on the heart-shaped pendant are symbols of the Tudor King Henry VIII and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, who married him in 1509.
Clarke recalled, “It was just outstanding. Nobody thinks you’re ever going to pull out that, in my lifetime especially — I can imagine in 30 lifetimes.”
A photo shows the 500-year-old piece, which Clarke discovered in a field:
One side features an entwined rose and pomegranate bush and the other shows the initials H and K, and on both sides the writing TOVS + IORS, which is connected to the French word “toujours” that means “always,” per CNN.
The pendant reportedly dates from the year 1521, according to Historic England.
“This beautiful pendant is a thrilling discovery giving us a tangible connection to Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon and enriches our understanding of the Royal Court at the time,” said Chief Executive of Historic England, Duncan Wilson.
After the discovery, Clarke eventually notified the British Museum. The museum’s curator of Renaissance Europe, Rachel King, was stunned.
She recalled thinking, “What is this? Is this for real? And it was such a challenge to me in the sense that could this be 19th century, could it be just costume jewelry?”
The museum later performed scientific analysis which dated the object before 1530. King’s team members speculated it may have been a prize or worn as a costume for a tournament or joust.
Now, Clarke is waiting for the piece to be sold and hopes to put the money toward his child’s education.
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