Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Renaissance Cusped Emerald Ring

Western Europe , 16th century

Gold, emerald

  • 13.700 €
  • £12,100
  • $16,000
  • Renaissance Cusped Emerald Ring

    Western Europe , 16th century
    Gold, emerald
    Weight 3.2 gr.; bezel 10 x 9.1 x 6.5 mm.; circumference 58.4 mm.; US size. 8.75 UK size R

    Rings with high quatrefoil bezels became fashionable in the beginning of the sixteenth century. Already in the previous century, goldsmiths regularly employed cusped bezels of four, five, six or even eight cusped prongs in solitaire gem settings.  In the sixteenth century, the ring with four cusps became more elaborate.  Whereas fifteenth-century cusped rings transition smoothly from the hoop to the bezel, sixteenth-century quatrefoil rings are more highly articulated. Surviving examples often bear elaborately decorated shoulders, while the petals of the bezel may be brightly enameled and chased with foliate patterns. The current ring jettisons these more elaborate decorative treatments and motifs in favor of crisp, smooth lines that accentuate its clean, bold geometries.

    Description
    The slender, beveled hoop of this elegant ring bears a foliate shoulder and a high, lobed bezel set with an emerald. The four prongs that secure the green stone loop back to form a quatrefoil blossom, visually uniting the prongs with the bezel while plastically articulating each side. The restrained ornament and excellent state of preservation lends the ring a pleasing sculptural presence.

    Literature
    For comparisons see the Victoria and Albert Museum (published in Oman 1974, Plate 26, especially example A), The British Museum (published in Oman 1930, nos. 1920, 1937, 1938, and especially 1939), The Ashmolean Museum (published in Scarisbrick and Henig 2003, Plate 19, A); the Alice and Louis Koch Collection (published in Chadour 1994, nos. 678-687).

    Reference number: 650

  • Emerald

    Hard, green precious stone , emeralds (and all forms of beryl) have large, perfect, six-sided crystals. Before the discovery of the new world, emeralds came mostly from Egypt; the finer emeralds come from the New World.

    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

  • Gemstone

    Gemstone (also called a precious stone) is a mineral that is valuable, rare and often beautiful.

  • 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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Renaissance Cusped Emerald Ring

Western Europe , 16th century
Gold, emerald
Weight 3.2 gr.; bezel 10 x 9.1 x 6.5 mm.; circumference 58.4 mm.; US size. 8.75 UK size R

USD $16,000

Rings with high quatrefoil bezels became fashionable in the beginning of the sixteenth century. Already in the previous century, goldsmiths regularly employed cusped bezels of four, five, six or even eight cusped prongs in solitaire gem settings.  In the sixteenth century, the ring with four cusps became more elaborate.  Whereas fifteenth-century cusped rings transition smoothly from the hoop to the bezel, sixteenth-century quatrefoil rings are more highly articulated. Surviving examples often bear elaborately decorated shoulders, while the petals of the bezel may be brightly enameled and chased with foliate patterns. The current ring jettisons these more elaborate decorative treatments and motifs in favor of crisp, smooth lines that accentuate its clean, bold geometries.

Description
The slender, beveled hoop of this elegant ring bears a foliate shoulder and a high, lobed bezel set with an emerald. The four prongs that secure the green stone loop back to form a quatrefoil blossom, visually uniting the prongs with the bezel while plastically articulating each side. The restrained ornament and excellent state of preservation lends the ring a pleasing sculptural presence.

Literature
For comparisons see the Victoria and Albert Museum (published in Oman 1974, Plate 26, especially example A), The British Museum (published in Oman 1930, nos. 1920, 1937, 1938, and especially 1939), The Ashmolean Museum (published in Scarisbrick and Henig 2003, Plate 19, A); the Alice and Louis Koch Collection (published in Chadour 1994, nos. 678-687).

Reference number: 650

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