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Palmerston gold chocolate cups
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Сhocolate was brought to Europe by the Spanish after their conquest of the Aztec empire in 1521. It was an enormously expensive luxury, and only the richest in society could afford to drink it. This is the only known pair of chocolate cups made from gold. Most unusually, they are made from melted-down mourning rings, memorial objects that were normally passed down through families and kept as treasured mementoes. Lady Palmerston, however, took several rings that she had inherited to John Chartier, a leading Huguenot goldsmith, who melted them down and made the cups.

Inscriptions on the insides of the handles and base of the cups read: DULCIA NON MERUIT QUI NON GUSTAVIT AMARA (he has not deserved sweet unless he has tasted bitter) and MANIBUS SACRUM (to the shades of the departed); on the other Think on yr Friends and Death as the chief and MORTVIS LIBAMVR (let us drink to the dead).

Palmerston gold chocolate cups

Made in London, AD 1700
Ht 6,4 cm
Acquired with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and private donations

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