THE JEWELS OF THE QUEEN ISABEL AND HER LEGEND
What happened to Queen Isabella’s jewelry?
Did he really have to sell them to defray Christopher Columbus’s trip through the sea?
The wonderful jewels of the kings were used in time of scarcity, so gold, silver, jewels and precious stones were weighed to know their value, and were pledged in case of trouble left as collateral for loans.
Then in good times were rescued, and this was precisely what happened with the jewels of Queen Elizabeth, who were already pledged.
When Columbus presented his ambitious project to Queen Elizabeth, she was very attracted to the idea of this possible financing. Although the Granada War had depleted all the resources of Castile, and certainly she had no way to finance it.
The son of Christopher Columbus, Hernando, said that such was the interest aroused by the Queen, who was even willing to pawn her own jewelry to defray the cost of the trip, but of course, this idea led to think that she had sold her jewelry for it.
It was not unreasonable to think about it, because it was common practice among kings to pawn jewels in bad times.
Unfortunately, the costly War of Granada had led the Queen much earlier, to have them left in deposit to be able to pay for it, the Granada War, the last great crusade against Islam, which will end with the Surrender of Granada, after reducing the Real safe.
It is very well known that the Jew Luis de Santángel contributed a considerable sum to the project of Christopher Columbus, so that this loan was made without needing the endorsement of the Jewels of Queen Isabel.
In this epoch a jewel was never considered like something own, because they could be given like gifts or they could also be left in garments in time of scarcity. Like many of them were modified, and in good times they added more precious stones or nobler metals. The jewels were taken into account because of their high economic value and they did not pay attention to their aesthetic characteristics.
It is said that the famous necklace of Balajes or purple rubies belonged to the mother of Fernando el Católico, Juana Enríquez. Fernando will give it as a gift to his wife Isabel, who had to pledge to pay some soldiers who protected her in Ávila, and spent much more time in the hands of the lenders than in the hands of their rightful owners. After the death of Isabel was recovered but Fernando soon to return to pawn to afford the large dowry of his daughter Catherine with Henry VIII. This famous necklace underwent some modification because the Queen Isabel ordered the silversmith Jaume Aymerich to add 16 arrows, going to be called the necklace of the Arrows.