Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Art Nouveau Lady with Pearl Ring

France or Belgium, c. 1900

Gold, pearl

  • 34.400 €
  • £30,800
  • $40,000
  • Art Nouveau Lady with Pearl Ring

    France or Belgium, c. 1900
    Gold, pearl
    Weight 11.2 gr., US size 5.5, UK size L

    This sculptural gold ring is cast and chased. The hoop is rounded and polished on the inside and, on the outside, strongly convex with a textured surface. Forming the bezel, a nude female figure stands on a cultured pearl, clasping drapery in her up- and outstretched hands so that it cascades down her back. A sense of movement is almost palpable in this figure of a standing woman. Here, the sculpture extends dramatically outward, spanning much of the finger in a manner that recalls the Bronze Age spiral and Hellenistic amphora rings. This ring stands apart from these earlier examples in its vitality and its celebration of the female form, evoking the statuesque splendor of Botticelli’s Venus.

    Provenance:
    Raphael Esmerian, Paris and New York (1903-1976).

    Literature:
    Scarisbrick 2007 [2014], pp. 280-81, fig. 390.

    Reference number: 500

  • Pearls

    Organic gems grown within oysters and a few other mollusks, pearls are formed when a foreign object (like a tiny stone) has made its way into the mollusk's shell. The mollusk secretes nacre , a lustrous substance that coats the intruding object. As thousands of layers of nacre coat the intruder, a pearl is formed. This process takes up to seven or eight years (an oyster's useful life span).

    Birthstone

    January-Garnet: Safe travel and a speedy homecoming
    February-Amethyst: Power to overcome difficulties
    March-Jasper: Courage
    April-Diamond: Everlasting love
    May-Emerald: Love and fidelity
    June- Pearl: Purity, Celebrate a birth
    July- Ruby: Prosperity (if worn on the left hand); Everlasting love (if worn on the right)
    August-Peridot and Sardonyx: Strength and growth; Happiness in a relationship
    September-Sapphire: Sincerity and faithfulness
    October-Opal and Tourmaline: Confidence and hope
    November-Citrine and Yellow Topaz: Strength and friendship
    December-Turquoise: Protects against evil and ill health

  • Bezel

    The upper, protruding part of a finger ring (excluding the hoop and the shoulders) often set with a gemstone.

    Hoop

    Also called the shank, the rounded part of the ring that encircles the finger and connects to the bezel at the shoulders.

  • Later

    It is virtually impossible to do justice to the evolution of jewelry from the Baroque period (c. 1700) to Modern times in a short synopsis, but these are a few highlights. Many of the functional aspects of finger-rings continued: they served for betrothal and marriage, for signing and family identification, for memorial purposes, as well as for pure ornament. However, some new types of rings emerge during this period: such as puzzle rings, gimmick rings, perfume rings, and rings that celebrated scientific achievements (e.g., watch rings) are but a few of the examples.

    This time span witnesses the emergence of the “archaeological style,” of which the work of Fortunato Pio Castellani in the 1830s to 1860s is a particularly well-known example, one that fits in the Neo-Classical period. We see the flourishing of other styles related to artistic movements in painting, sculpture, and architecture. These include Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts Movement, both beginning around the 1880s, and Art Deco in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. It also covers the emergence of some of the most famous twentieth-century houses of jewelry, such as Cartier, Charmet, Boucheron, Bulgari, Tiffany’s, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Mellerio, to mention only a few. Jewelry historians responsible for exhibitions in major museums have begun to trace the historical contributions and characterize the styles of jewelry, including rings, not only of these different artistic movements, but also of these great houses.

    Two other sometimes-overlapping categories of later jewelry are of significant import. The first category, “artist jewelry,” consists of jewelry by artists mostly known for their work in other media, such as Picasso, Calder, Dali, Robert Indiana, Louise Bourgeois, Yves Klein, Anish Kapoor, and many others. The second category, “studio jewelry” includes work by modern and contemporary goldsmiths. Among those practicing today of special mention are Wendy Ramshaw and others belonging to the Goldsmith’s Company in London, dedicated to continuing the craft since it received its first royal charter in 1327. Others of different national origins include the Italian Giovanni Corvaja (handled by Adrian Sassoon in London), the American Joel Arthur Rosenthal or JAR of Paris (whose international exhibition was staged at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2013), Otto Jakob of Germany, and the newcomer Wallace Chan of China. The experienced viewer-collector, as well as the newcomer to the field, can begin to learn about modern jewelry at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with its dedicated jewelry gallery and specialized curator, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which houses the William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, and the private collection of Alice and Louis Koch.

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ring

Art Nouveau Lady with Pearl Ring

France or Belgium, c. 1900
Gold, pearl
Weight 11.2 gr., US size 5.5, UK size L

USD $40,000

This sculptural gold ring is cast and chased. The hoop is rounded and polished on the inside and, on the outside, strongly convex with a textured surface. Forming the bezel, a nude female figure stands on a cultured pearl, clasping drapery in her up- and outstretched hands so that it cascades down her back. A sense of movement is almost palpable in this figure of a standing woman. Here, the sculpture extends dramatically outward, spanning much of the finger in a manner that recalls the Bronze Age spiral and Hellenistic amphora rings. This ring stands apart from these earlier examples in its vitality and its celebration of the female form, evoking the statuesque splendor of Botticelli’s Venus.

Provenance:
Raphael Esmerian, Paris and New York (1903-1976).

Literature:
Scarisbrick 2007 [2014], pp. 280-81, fig. 390.

Reference number: 500

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