Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Gimmel Fede Ring with Inscription “GAGE D’AMITIE”

Probably England, c. 1750

Gold, ruby and diamonds

  • 42.600 €
  • £37,800
  • $50,000
  • Gimmel Fede Ring with Inscription “GAGE D’AMITIE”

    Probably England, c. 1750
    Gold, ruby and diamonds
    Weight 6.5 gr., US size 8.25, UK size Q ½

    This gold ring is composed of three connecting hoops attached by a hinge. Soldered onto the outer two are hands enameled in a natural skin tone with blue enameled, diamond-set cuffs. The central hoop supports two entwined hearts, composed of a Burmese ruby in a gold collet setting and a diamond set in silver. They are surmounted by a silver crown set with small diamonds. When worn, both hands appear to support the hearts, and, when opened, the middle hoop reveals on one side a finely engraved inscription: “GAGE D’AMITIE.” The crowned heart is just one of many elements reinforcing this ring’s message of love. Its circular form, here emphasized by the three hoops, alludes to the eternal bond in marriage.

    Reference number: 734

  • Diamond

    Precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon, diamonds are one of the hardest materials known. Colors of diamonds range from colorless, yellow, orange, brown, to almost black. Rarer colors are red, blue, green, and purple; these colors (called fancies) are quite valuable. The largest-known gem-quality diamonds include the Cullinan (e. g., the Star of Africa, 530.20 carats), the Excelsior , the Great Mogul (an ancient Indian diamond which is said to have originally weighed 787.5 carats, but its location is unknown), the Darya-i-Nur , the Koh-i-Nur , and the Hope diamond (named for a purchaser, Henry Thomas Hope).

    Rubies

    Precious stones and a member of the corundum family, rubies range in color from the classic deep red to pink to purple to brown. Rubies are extremely hard; only diamonds are harder. Rubies were mined in Burma and sold through India in the Middle Ages to the Mediterranean.

    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

  • Fede

    From the Italian for “faith” or “trust” fede rings are symbolic rings shaped in the form of two clasped hands. Such rings were popular in ancient Rome as betrothal rings and again throughout Europe from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries.

    Hoop

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

    Bezel

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

  • Renaissance & Baroque

    Considerable evidence exists concerning the making and wearing of rings in the Renaissance. Their appearance in painted portraits confirms that they continued to be worn on multiple fingers, suspended from chains and ribbons, sewn onto sleeves or hats, and so forth. When not worn they were sometimes stored on parchment rolls or in neatly compartmentalized boxes, known from documents and paintings. In the Renaissance, the medieval practice of using uncut stones was abandoned in favor of faceting; table-cut facets were among the earliest and most popular, but other cuts rapidly followed. Making rings that would show off best the qualities of the stone became a skill that exercised the virtuosity of cutters, chasers, engravers, enamellers, and goldsmiths sometimes in collaboration. The highly sculpturesque quality of most Renaissance and Baroque rings can be compared with the striving for greater veracity that characterizes the monumental arts of this period.

    By far the most common type of ring from the Renaissance was the boxed bezel set with faceted stones in highly ornate geometric bezels with intricate articulated shoulders, sometimes with protruding volutes, the whole richly enameled. Surviving drawings for rings by sixteenth-century goldsmith-designers Etienne Delaune, Pierre Woeiriot, and René Boyvin record variations on this type. Often reviving classical subjects and motifs, numerous cameos and intaglios also date from this era, produced under illustrious, often princely, patronage. By the sixteenth century the careers of famous gem-cutters can be reconstructed; they include Valerio Belli, Alessandro Cesati, Alessandro Masnago, and Francesco Torino. However, few Renaissance cameos and intaglios appear in their original mounts, because they were often made not as rings but rather as virtuoso carvings, kept in drawers in cabinets and taken out and admired by Renaissance princes.

    During Elizabethan and Tudor times in England, commonplace books (the earliest dated 1596) were used by goldsmiths and their customers to provide appropriate inscriptions for rings. References to posy rings (from “poésie” or poetry) abound in literature of the period; for example, in Shakespeare's Hamlet (III, ii, 162): “Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring.” The discovery of the New World also wrought changes in the evolution of rings, as it did for painting, because new stones became available. The newly prized diamond, expensive then as now, was often imitated by the similarly favored rock crystal. Extensive surviving pictorial evidence is useful because it contributes to a more precise dating and localization of rings from this era.

     

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Gimmel Fede Ring with Inscription “GAGE D’AMITIE”

Probably England, c. 1750
Gold, ruby and diamonds
Weight 6.5 gr., US size 8.25, UK size Q ½

USD $50,000

This gold ring is composed of three connecting hoops attached by a hinge. Soldered onto the outer two are hands enameled in a natural skin tone with blue enameled, diamond-set cuffs. The central hoop supports two entwined hearts, composed of a Burmese ruby in a gold collet setting and a diamond set in silver. They are surmounted by a silver crown set with small diamonds. When worn, both hands appear to support the hearts, and, when opened, the middle hoop reveals on one side a finely engraved inscription: “GAGE D’AMITIE.” The crowned heart is just one of many elements reinforcing this ring’s message of love. Its circular form, here emphasized by the three hoops, alludes to the eternal bond in marriage.

Reference number: 734

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