Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Renaissance Gemstone Ring

Italy, 16th century

Gold and ruby

  • 19.200 €
  • £16,900
  • $22,000
  • Renaissance Gemstone Ring

    Italy, 16th century
    Gold and ruby
    Weight 6.1 gr; bezel 6 x 11 x 10 mm; circumference 55; US size 7¼; UK size O

    This box bezel ring is set with a beautiful ruby and intricately engraved on its bezel and shoulders.  Often thought to be of Italian origin, such Renaissance rings were probably made all over Europe and appear frequently in portraits of the period.  The forms of rings like this were popularized thanks to pattern books by Virgil Solis, Etienne Delaune, and Pierre Woeriot that circulated widely.  This type of ring goes out of fashion by c. 1600, when it is replaced by the cluster ring.

    Description
    High quatrefoil bezel set with a ruby, the lobes chased with double crescents, the panels below chased with scrollwork, the ribs resembling claws, shoulders chased in relief with volutes and strapwork, the hoop otherwise plain, round on the exterior and flat on the interior, the underside of the bezel sculpted in four geometric sections.  Traces of enamel remaining, else in excellent condition.

    Literature
    For comparisons, see Ashmolean Museum, Fortnum 116 (published in Oman 1974, Ii); London, British Museum (published in Dalton, 1912, no. 1937; Oman 1974, 26D); three rings from the Harari Coll (published in Boardman 1977, nos. 170 [ex-Guilhou Collection], 171, and 172).

    Reference number: 333

  • 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

  • Gemstone

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

    Shoulders

    Often articulated, the shoulders are the part of the ring between the hoop (or shank) and the bezel.

  • 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 Gemstone Ring

Italy, 16th century
Gold and ruby
Weight 6.1 gr; bezel 6 x 11 x 10 mm; circumference 55; US size 7¼; UK size O

USD $22,000

This box bezel ring is set with a beautiful ruby and intricately engraved on its bezel and shoulders.  Often thought to be of Italian origin, such Renaissance rings were probably made all over Europe and appear frequently in portraits of the period.  The forms of rings like this were popularized thanks to pattern books by Virgil Solis, Etienne Delaune, and Pierre Woeriot that circulated widely.  This type of ring goes out of fashion by c. 1600, when it is replaced by the cluster ring.

Description
High quatrefoil bezel set with a ruby, the lobes chased with double crescents, the panels below chased with scrollwork, the ribs resembling claws, shoulders chased in relief with volutes and strapwork, the hoop otherwise plain, round on the exterior and flat on the interior, the underside of the bezel sculpted in four geometric sections.  Traces of enamel remaining, else in excellent condition.

Literature
For comparisons, see Ashmolean Museum, Fortnum 116 (published in Oman 1974, Ii); London, British Museum (published in Dalton, 1912, no. 1937; Oman 1974, 26D); three rings from the Harari Coll (published in Boardman 1977, nos. 170 [ex-Guilhou Collection], 171, and 172).

Reference number: 333

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