Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Renaissance Gimmel Ring with Ruby and Emerald

Germany, dated 1571

Gold, ruby and emerald

  • 21.800 €
  • £19,200
  • $25,000
  • Renaissance Gimmel Ring with Ruby and Emerald

    Germany, dated 1571
    Gold, ruby and emerald
    Weight 6.9 gr.; circumference 61.64 mm.; US size 9 ¾; UK size T ¼

    Two rounded hoops interlock to form a bezel in the shape of two clasped right hands. Engraved on the palm of one is a heart shape, originally with red enamel. The cuff s with traces of opaque white enamel consist of elaborate scrollwork embedded with two box settings, a table-cut ruby on one side and an emerald on the other. When opened the hoops reveal a German inscription in black enamel: “x WAS x GOT x ZV x SAMEN x FVGET x SOL x KEIN x MINSCHE x SCHEDEN x 1571 x” (What God has joined together, let no man put asunder 1571 [Mark 10:9, Matthew 19:6]). This exceptional ring is called a “gimmel,” from the Latin gemellus for “twin,” referring to the double bezel and double hoop which open to reveal the inscription and the date. The twinning is a reference to two lovers joined in marriage, and the inscription refers to the indissolubility of the marriage vows. The choice of the gemstones likewise underlines the love match – a ruby symbolic of love and an emerald of desire and passion.

    Reference number: 888

  • 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.

    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

  • Band

    A ring made from a thin, often flat, ribbon-like strip of material (usually metal). The band can be unadorned or decorated.

    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.

    Gemstone

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

    Engraving

    Technique of cutting patterns into a surface with a sharp tool; an impression made from the cut surface shows the design of the incised lines in reverse (hence intaglio).

    Enamel

    Siliceous substance fusible upon metal, either transparent or opaque and with or without color, but it is usually employed to add decorative color to metal. Enamel can be applied in many different ways, including cloisonné , champlevé , and plique à jour .

    Box setting

    A box-shaped bezel setting either in the form of a quadrangle or rectangle with a closed underside.

    Table-cut

    One of the earliest styles of gem cutting, based on the natural octahedron, one of the forms in which diamond crystals occur. The top of the octahedron is cut off to leave a flat surface with the pointed half of the octahedron below.

     

  • 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 Gimmel Ring with Ruby and Emerald

Germany, dated 1571
Gold, ruby and emerald
Weight 6.9 gr.; circumference 61.64 mm.; US size 9 ¾; UK size T ¼

USD $25,000

Two rounded hoops interlock to form a bezel in the shape of two clasped right hands. Engraved on the palm of one is a heart shape, originally with red enamel. The cuff s with traces of opaque white enamel consist of elaborate scrollwork embedded with two box settings, a table-cut ruby on one side and an emerald on the other. When opened the hoops reveal a German inscription in black enamel: “x WAS x GOT x ZV x SAMEN x FVGET x SOL x KEIN x MINSCHE x SCHEDEN x 1571 x” (What God has joined together, let no man put asunder 1571 [Mark 10:9, Matthew 19:6]). This exceptional ring is called a “gimmel,” from the Latin gemellus for “twin,” referring to the double bezel and double hoop which open to reveal the inscription and the date. The twinning is a reference to two lovers joined in marriage, and the inscription refers to the indissolubility of the marriage vows. The choice of the gemstones likewise underlines the love match – a ruby symbolic of love and an emerald of desire and passion.

Reference number: 888

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