Priceless Treasures Glitter at London Museum

Gold and pearl cage pendants, photo courtesy of the Museum of London.

The Cheapside Hoard, the world’s largest and finest collection of late-16th and early-17th-century jewels and gemstones, is being lit at the London Museum with Precision Lighting’s Pico 1 Surface LED spotlights. Studio ZNA chose Pico luminaires for the high security display cases housing priceless items from the collection, both for accuracy and light quality.

The Hoard is on show at the London Museum until 27 April, 2014, where it forms the centrepiece of a major season on jewellery. It has not been viewed as a whole since it was discovered a little over a century ago. ‘At nearly 500 glittering pieces, the Cheapside Hoard includes delicate finger rings, cascading necklaces, Byzantine cameos, a beautiful jewelled scent bottle, and a unique Colombian emerald watch,’ says Exhibition curator Hazel Forsyth. ‘This priceless collection of jewels is the City of London’s most exquisite stash of buried treasure, and it is the single most important source of our knowledge on early modern jewellery worldwide.’

Display case lighting focuses attention on priceless collection

Lighting designer Zerlina Hughes of Studio ZNA worked with interior design practice Ben Kelly Designs to modify the exhibition’s high security display cases. The addition of hoods that house 108 Pico down-lights and their drivers helps draw visitors’ gaze below a horizontal line, focusing their gaze away from the surrounding contemporary architecture. A further 28 surface-mounted Picos, also within the cases, provide up-light for objects such as pendant jewellery.

‘The museum is designed for flexibility, and services in the ceiling such as air-conditioning are visible. This has advantages for the museum but we needed to create a different aesthetic for this wonderful collection of tiny, glittering objects,’ said Hughes. ‘These little LED spots provide localised lighting that makes these artefacts sparkle and reveals them in detail. They are designed to help you work fast and accurately.’

LED spots complement existing lighting

Studio ZNA’s lighting design incorporated the existing fixtures including tungsten halogen fibre optic point sources used as a linear source to illuminate religious objects. Existing linear LEDs illuminate the exhibition’s title wall; Hughes lit the tabletop cases and graphics with existing track-mounted beam shapers, wall washers and spotlights. She commented that a blend of warm LED and cooler tungsten halogen colour temperatures works particularly well in this context.

The Pico 1 is a small, discreet spotlight with a body machined from aerospace-grade 6063-T6 aluminium. It is designed with low-friction bearing rotation and a constant torque tilt mechanism which are both lockable in pan and tilt, to help direct the light accurately and to ensure that it does not drift or get knocked out of position. Optics that can be changed on site without tools also make setting up and focusing easier. The Pico 1 is dimmable from 10V to 1V, delivers a lumen package of 125lm at 1.6W and offers a choice of 12o and 30o beam widths.

‘The Cheapside Hoard is an outstanding collection of 16th- and early-17th century jewellery with a fascinating treasure-trove story. The number, variety and exquisite quality of its pieces is difficult to imagine until you see it displayed in front of you in its entirety,’ said major exhibitions manager Elpie Psalti.

For more information on  Precision Lighting, visit

For more information on The Museum of London and the Cheapside Hoard visit

or contact Laura Mitchell / 020 7814 5502

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27 Dec