A PAIR of jewelled earrings inspired by a Byzantine crown, or a bracelet designed in the style of a sword hilt are among the items on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Shop in Prince's Building. It represents one of the most unusual displays of jewellery seen in the territory for a long time. As the shop's name suggests, all the items for sale have been modelled on works of art held by the museum, although they are not always copies of an original piece. A pearl and amethyst necklace is a reproduction of the one worn by Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for nine days, in a painting by Hans Holbein the younger. This is not the place to come hoping to buy extravagantly expensive jewellery; most pieces cost less than $1,000. Even Lady Jane Grey's pearls are artificial, and most gold pieces are only gold plated. What does attract the buyer is the sense of history, together with the feeling that however superb modern day jewellery is, with advanced technology allowing craftsmen far more scope for their creativity, ancient craftsmen were able to turn out beautiful works of art with their relatively simple equipment. Most museums are strapped for money and are looking for ways to bring in more cash to help balance the budget. This is an enterprising way of making use of the museum's contents, but, unlike the original which inspired the design and which may be unique, the items on sale in Hong Kong are also on sale in 15 other shops throughout the United States, and have no claim to being unique, or even part of a limited edition. Historical items have inspired other modern day jewellers. Philippe Chariol has produced a jewellery collection based on the centuries-old Celtic craftsmanship. The design of each piece is authentic and traces its roots to the Snettisham torque. Chariol has constructed his designs in burnished steel and 18-karat gold, and the bracelets and necklaces are closed off by white or yellow gold motifs. Carera y Carera is still turning out its attractive gold jewellery in the likeness of humans and animals. One necklace, like a woman's arms above her head and sensuously entwined with gold creepers and rubies representing leaves, is breathtaking.