Gold torque

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Jersey's gold torque
The torque before and after restoration

Archaeologists have unearthed many treasures while excavating prehistoric sites in Jersey. but by far the most valuable - indeed it is priceless - is the gold torque which was found by workmen digging foundations for a house in St Helier in 1889.

The torgue is a spiral of gold 140 centimetres long and weighing 746 grammes. That makes it worth some £22,000 at today's gold prices (June 2011), but the torque, which is now in the possession of La Société Jersiaise and on display in the island's museum, is valued beyond price.

It is thought that it was probably brought to the island from Brittany by a wealthy chieftain, although why it was left buried is unknown. The torque was almost certainly an early example of jewellery, perhaps worn around the waist. The gold is of Irish origin and similar torques have been found in England, Wales, Brittany and Normandy, although none as large as Jersey's, which dates from the Bronze Age. The torque was damaged when found and was repaired by the British Museum.

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