Replica of Nelson’s stolen jewel on display

Detail from an exact replica of Lord Nelson's diamond Chelengk jewels. Picture:Andrew Matthews/Press Association

Replica of Lord Nelson’s lost jewel to go on display

Chelengk, a military decoration containing more than 300 diamonds, was gifted to the Vice Admiral by Sultan Selim III of Turkey following the Battle of the Nile in 1798.

But in 1951, the jewel was stolen during a night-time raid on a gallery. The theft was claimed in 1994 by the infamous cat burglar George Chatham who said he sold it for a few thousand pounds and it had been broken up.

The replica, created by a British goldsmith in London, has been designed based on research by historian Martyn Downer for his latest book Nelson’s Lost Jewel which tells the story of the chelengk and includes newly-found drawings of the original.

The jewel will go on display as part of the Lord Nelson exhibition at the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

It contains more than 300 diamonds, placed in 13 rays to represent the French ships captured or destroyed in action as well as a central diamond Ottoman star which is powered by clockwork.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of the museum, said: ‘The new images of the chelengk are a ground-breaking discovery, and we are delighted that with the help of Martyn Downer, we have been able to recreate and showcase the lost jewel.

‘It’s one of the most historic and instantly recognisable jewels in British history and still familiar around the world.’

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