Cinta Physical Object

Accession Number
Creation Date
circa 1575 – 1600
One of twenty-four (1986.008.0004a-- p, r--x) cinta pieces with conjoined alternating near-square and rectangular cartouch-form medallions variously mounted for pearls and gemstones and each elaborately decorated with stylized beaded scrolls, spherules, flower heads, quatrefoils, three medallions set with table-cut rubies, four further set with table-cut diamonds, multiple ring-set pearls. See also cinta fragment 1986.008.0093.

4.0 x 2.5 x 1.2 cm. 20.78 grams. Weight is from original Treasure Salvors Inc. artifact card which has measurement as 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.5 cm. Length overall 74.3 cm. 608.67 grams.

Exhibition Label
Case/Object Caption (2023):

Gold, pearls, diamonds, rubies (c.1600)
Gift of Jamestown Inc.

This elaborate cinta would have been the possession of a very wealthy woman, probably a high-ranking courtier or a princess. It was constructed so that it could be taken apart or reconnected to make different lengths, fitting the wearer as a matching belt and a necklace. If given to a child, it could be altered as the young wearer’s body matured.
Unfortunately, many of the links of this cinta were lost in the wreck of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha. However, the pieces seen here are unique in today’s world. Although cintas may be seen in paintings of noblewomen of the late 1500s, these links are the only examples known to have survived the ravages of time. By the mid-1600s, a cinta would have been considered old fashioned. Frequently, a young woman would have her forebear’s jewelry taken apart and its elements remade in a new design.