Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Renaissance Marriage Ring

Western Europe, c. 1600-1620

Gold, rock crystal and white enamel

  • 53.800 €
  • £47,300
  • $60,000
  • Renaissance Marriage Ring

    Western Europe, c. 1600-1620
    Gold, rock crystal and white enamel
    Weight 5.9 gr., US size 5.25, UK size K

    This gold hoop with D-section widens towards shoulders that end in elaborate scrolls. These are surmounted on each side by cartouche-like ornaments in opaque white enamel, topped with leaves in translucent green. The underside of the square bezel forms a flat inverted pyramid with black enameled rays. Two triangular tabs link the hoop with the bezel. The latter has a double-stepped base with black and opaque green enamel and a thick table-cut rock crystal in a box setting. This ring is an antecedent of the solitaire marriage ring. Evidence of the diamond being worn as a betrothal or marriage ring dates back to the thirteenth century.

    Reference number: 741

  • Rock crystal

    Transparent , crystalline mineral, rock crystal is the purest form of quartz and a semi-precious stone. Rock crystal came from Germany, Switzerland, and France in the medieval era.

    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

  • Bezel

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

    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 .

    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 Marriage Ring

Western Europe, c. 1600-1620
Gold, rock crystal and white enamel
Weight 5.9 gr., US size 5.25, UK size K

USD $60,000

This gold hoop with D-section widens towards shoulders that end in elaborate scrolls. These are surmounted on each side by cartouche-like ornaments in opaque white enamel, topped with leaves in translucent green. The underside of the square bezel forms a flat inverted pyramid with black enameled rays. Two triangular tabs link the hoop with the bezel. The latter has a double-stepped base with black and opaque green enamel and a thick table-cut rock crystal in a box setting. This ring is an antecedent of the solitaire marriage ring. Evidence of the diamond being worn as a betrothal or marriage ring dates back to the thirteenth century.

Reference number: 741