Concepcion Details & Photos


The Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion wrecked on a fringing reef on the south coast of Saipan, after the ship had been debilitated during an attempted mutiny.

The loss is well documented in Spanish archives. She wrecked in 1638 while voyaging from Manila to Acapulco. Most of the passengers and crew drowned or where killed by the Chomoros on Saipan, although a handful eventually made it back to Manila.

The primary cargo would have been silks and spices. Ming blue-and-white porcelain from the Jingdezhen kilns would have filled the lower hold, however not a single intact item was found.

Gold jewellery, on the other hand, survived quite well, although many months of restoration were required. Several thousand pieces were recovered, including decorative buttons, chains, crucifixes, broaches, finger rings, and plate. Many pieces were set with emeralds, sapphires, rubies, amethysts, and diamonds.

The jewellery collection remains intact, along with all other recovered artifacts. It provides a unique glimpse into the Europe-Asia trade during the early 17th century, for most of the cargo was destined for transshipment onto vessels heading across the Atlantic to Spain.


Storage jars.

Assorted jars and lids.

Sounding leads.


Enameled pendant and chain.

Square filigree chain links.

Diamond studded shoe pendant.


Filigree cross.

Lid with lettering.

Fragment of gold plate.