Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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ROSE COLORED GLASS WAS OFTEN USED IN PLACE OF RED GEMSTONES AND, LIKE A ROSE, ACTED AS A REMINDER OF ARDENT LOVE

England, 15th century

Gold and red glass

  • 2.500 €
  • £2,200
  • $3,000
  • ROSE COLORED GLASS WAS OFTEN USED IN PLACE OF RED GEMSTONES AND, LIKE A ROSE, ACTED AS A REMINDER OF ARDENT LOVE

    England, 15th century
    Gold and red glass
    Weight 2.3 gr; bezel 9 x 8 x 5 mm; circumference 54 mm; US size 7, UK size N

    Our ring is a typical example of a later medieval gemstone ring, transitional between the “claw setting” and the box bezel, the prongs or claws pressed out of the collet to give the effect of scalloping. Scalloped or “cusped” rings often appear in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century portraits.  One of the most famous examples is Gerard David’s Portrait of a Goldsmith (Vienna), c. 1500, where he holds a cylinder roll of cusped rings.  Another is John Bettes’s Portrait of Wentworth (London, National Portrait Gallery), dated 1549 (published in Oman, 1974, 23B).  These and other portraits provide a means of circumscribing the popularity of cusped rings, which evidently coincide in date with the box bezel type that eventually replaces them.  They already appear in the Fishpool Hoard deposited in 1463-64.

    Description
    Flat band widening on the shoulders to form the scalloped quatrefoil collet set with a table-cut red glass.  In good condition.

    Literature
    For comparisons, see Hashimoto Collection, 0CL102 (with blue paste; published in Scarisbrick, 2004, no. 117); Cologne, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Inv. Nr. G993Cl (with a turquoise; published in Chadour, 1985, no. 235); Ex-Melvin Gutman Collection (hexagonal garnet in a cusped bezel; Sale, New York, Parke-Bernet Galleries, 15 May 1970, lot 21); Koch Collection, Inv. Nr. 23.3 (with a sapphire; published in Chadour, 1994, no. 674); and Oxford, New College (published in Oman, 1974, 1C).

    Reference number: 331

  • Gemstone

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

    Claw

    A claw is a metal prong that holds a stone securely in a setting.

    Collet

    Thin, round band of metal that goes all around the stone.

  • 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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ROSE COLORED GLASS WAS OFTEN USED IN PLACE OF RED GEMSTONES AND, LIKE A ROSE, ACTED AS A REMINDER OF ARDENT LOVE

England, 15th century
Gold and red glass
Weight 2.3 gr; bezel 9 x 8 x 5 mm; circumference 54 mm; US size 7, UK size N

USD $3,000

Our ring is a typical example of a later medieval gemstone ring, transitional between the “claw setting” and the box bezel, the prongs or claws pressed out of the collet to give the effect of scalloping. Scalloped or “cusped” rings often appear in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century portraits.  One of the most famous examples is Gerard David’s Portrait of a Goldsmith (Vienna), c. 1500, where he holds a cylinder roll of cusped rings.  Another is John Bettes’s Portrait of Wentworth (London, National Portrait Gallery), dated 1549 (published in Oman, 1974, 23B).  These and other portraits provide a means of circumscribing the popularity of cusped rings, which evidently coincide in date with the box bezel type that eventually replaces them.  They already appear in the Fishpool Hoard deposited in 1463-64.

Description
Flat band widening on the shoulders to form the scalloped quatrefoil collet set with a table-cut red glass.  In good condition.

Literature
For comparisons, see Hashimoto Collection, 0CL102 (with blue paste; published in Scarisbrick, 2004, no. 117); Cologne, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Inv. Nr. G993Cl (with a turquoise; published in Chadour, 1985, no. 235); Ex-Melvin Gutman Collection (hexagonal garnet in a cusped bezel; Sale, New York, Parke-Bernet Galleries, 15 May 1970, lot 21); Koch Collection, Inv. Nr. 23.3 (with a sapphire; published in Chadour, 1994, no. 674); and Oxford, New College (published in Oman, 1974, 1C).

Reference number: 331

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