There’s a room in the V&A museum that was refurbished a shade under a decade ago, and banned photography — but not anymore. This is the jewellery display, a long dark room lit with reflections from thousands of tiny clusters of jewels and decorations.

A small sign by the door always forbade photos, but a subtle amendment has taken place, and now rather than forbidding, the residue of the sign almost actively encourages it.

And what a room it is — a dark glassy confection filled with jewels and decorative boxes. It’s almost too many to contemplate, a huge array that is laid out chronologically ranging from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and telling the story of western jewellery since medieval times to modern.

Walls dotted with small objects, and then curving through the middle of the room a series of glass commas hosting the highlights of the display.

If that’s not enough, there’s an upper floor as well, linked by a quite delightful staircase. It’s probably not the sort of staircase that would be used today, being slightly a hark- back to the 1980s with its neon glow plastic and steel wire supports — but I like it.

Upstairs are more jewels, but also a modest collection of watches and rather oddly, some swords.

I won’t talk about individual objects, as for me it’s a display to browse and to enjoy the overall atmosphere of the room as a whole.

And now, at last, you can take photos in there as well.

The jewellery gallery is on the 1st floor of the V&A Museum.


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  1. Sheila Page says:

    How awful. Yet another place those of us who actually want to look will have to push people standing with their backs to the exhibition out of the way. Presumably the flashes also reflect back and change what you call ‘the overall atmosphere’?

    • Ian Visits says:

      I didn’t see anyone using camera flash, and anyone who did would quickly realise it doesn’t work.

  2. C Mills says:

    Great news. There are some beauties in there I’ve always wanted to photograph for my own reference. Thanks Ian!

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