The ring not only exemplifies the elegant proportions of classic Renaissance design but introduces important new developments in stone faceting and setting. In creating this gleaming gold ring with its noble silhouette the Renaissance jeweler has risen to the challenge of providing a setting worthy of this diamond, prized not only for its beauty and rarity but also for its symbolism and protective powers.
Jewelers of the Middle Byzantine Period (843-1204) excelled in cloisonné, the complex and delicate enamel technique that decorates the little roundel in this ring. The floral design was filled in with pulverized glass that adhered to the gold backing upon exposure to the heat of a kiln. Though the enamel has worn with time, its surface would have originally been polished smooth and glistening through repeated burnishing.
The restrained design of this ring is characteristic of seventeenth-century jewelry, in which the focus was on the stones rather than on the setting, which is now much simpler than in the previous period.Rare and expensive, as well as beautiful, the ruby was usually available in small sizes only, as here, where the six rubies have been clustered together around the table-cut diamond so as to give an impression of weight and importance.
This book assembles an unparalleled collection of rings dating from the 3rd to the 19th century, presented not chronologically but rather grouped into timeless themes – birth, marriage, everyday life, death and eternity – thereby achieving greater insight about the beliefs, sentiments, status, and practices of their former owners.