Admiral Lord Nelson’s diamond Chelengk is one of the most famous and iconic jewels in British history.
Presented to Nelson by Sultan Selim III of Turkey after the Battle of the Nile in 1798, the jewel had thirteen diamond rays to represent the French ships captured or destroyed at the action. Nelson wore the Chelengk on his hat like a turban jewel; it became his trademark to be endlessly copied in portraits and busts to this day.
After Trafalgar, the Chelengk was inherited by Nelson’s family. It was sold at auction in 1895 before ending up at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich where it was a star exhibit. In 1951 the jewel was stolen by an infamous cat-burglar and lost forever.
Martyn Downer tells the extraordinary true story of the Chelengk, charting the jewel’s journey through history and forging sparkling new and intimate portraits of Nelson, of his friends and rivals, and of the woman he loved.