Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Renaissance Revival Ring

Western Europe, late 19th to early 20th century

Gold, glass and polychrome enamel

  • 3.100 €
  • £2,800
  • $3,500
  • Renaissance Revival Ring

    Western Europe, late 19th to early 20th century
    Gold, glass and polychrome enamel
    Weight 4.3 gr; bezel 10.7 x 11 x 11.1 mm; circumference 55.3 mm; US size 7½; UK size P

    While similar to Renaissance rings, this particular example is likely the product of nineteenth-century Germany. After several generations of enthusiasm for Greek and Gothic antiquities, European taste-makers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century became increasingly interested in the decorative arts of the Italian Renaissance.  This attention spurred a vogue for jewels mimicking the shapes and decorative forms of the period. Beatriz Chadour-Sampson has associated rings nearly identical to the current example with this trend in taste, and her research has suggested a specific provenance for their production, the Zeichenakademie Hanau. In this technical academy, the students were required in the early twentieth century to make a Renaissance-style ring as a part of their final examinations, and two drawings for similar rings annotated with detailed calculations for production costs survive.

    Description
    A slender hoop supports a massive projecting bezel incised and decorated with black enamel.  The emerald has been cut into a pyramid capped with a small square crown. The bezel and shoulders of the ring are adorned with cast grotteschi-derived strapwork ornament that bears substantial traces of enamel in red, white, and black. 

    Literature
    For Renaissance rings with pyramidal stones that served as models for the current ring, see the Victoria and Albert Museum (published in Oman, 1993, no. 293), the Ralph Harari Collection (published in Boardman and Scarisbrick, 1977, no. 175-176), Ashmolean Museum (published in Scarisbrick and Henig 2003, plate 22: 1), Hashimoto Collection (published in Scarisbrick 2004, no. 159).  For other examples dated to the nineteenth or early 20th century, see the Alice and Louis Koch Collection (published in Chadour 1994, nos. 1672-1684).

    Reference number: 370-3

  • Shoulders

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

    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 .

  • Later

    It is virtually impossible to do justice to the evolution of jewelry from the Baroque period (c. 1700) to Modern times in a short synopsis, but these are a few highlights. Many of the functional aspects of finger-rings continued: they served for betrothal and marriage, for signing and family identification, for memorial purposes, as well as for pure ornament. However, some new types of rings emerge during this period: such as puzzle rings, gimmick rings, perfume rings, and rings that celebrated scientific achievements (e.g., watch rings) are but a few of the examples.

    This time span witnesses the emergence of the “archaeological style,” of which the work of Fortunato Pio Castellani in the 1830s to 1860s is a particularly well-known example, one that fits in the Neo-Classical period. We see the flourishing of other styles related to artistic movements in painting, sculpture, and architecture. These include Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts Movement, both beginning around the 1880s, and Art Deco in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. It also covers the emergence of some of the most famous twentieth-century houses of jewelry, such as Cartier, Charmet, Boucheron, Bulgari, Tiffany’s, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Mellerio, to mention only a few. Jewelry historians responsible for exhibitions in major museums have begun to trace the historical contributions and characterize the styles of jewelry, including rings, not only of these different artistic movements, but also of these great houses.

    Two other sometimes-overlapping categories of later jewelry are of significant import. The first category, “artist jewelry,” consists of jewelry by artists mostly known for their work in other media, such as Picasso, Calder, Dali, Robert Indiana, Louise Bourgeois, Yves Klein, Anish Kapoor, and many others. The second category, “studio jewelry” includes work by modern and contemporary goldsmiths. Among those practicing today of special mention are Wendy Ramshaw and others belonging to the Goldsmith’s Company in London, dedicated to continuing the craft since it received its first royal charter in 1327. Others of different national origins include the Italian Giovanni Corvaja (handled by Adrian Sassoon in London), the American Joel Arthur Rosenthal or JAR of Paris (whose international exhibition was staged at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2013), Otto Jakob of Germany, and the newcomer Wallace Chan of China. The experienced viewer-collector, as well as the newcomer to the field, can begin to learn about modern jewelry at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with its dedicated jewelry gallery and specialized curator, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which houses the William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, and the private collection of Alice and Louis Koch.

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Renaissance Revival Ring

Western Europe, late 19th to early 20th century
Gold, glass and polychrome enamel
Weight 4.3 gr; bezel 10.7 x 11 x 11.1 mm; circumference 55.3 mm; US size 7½; UK size P

USD $3,500

While similar to Renaissance rings, this particular example is likely the product of nineteenth-century Germany. After several generations of enthusiasm for Greek and Gothic antiquities, European taste-makers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century became increasingly interested in the decorative arts of the Italian Renaissance.  This attention spurred a vogue for jewels mimicking the shapes and decorative forms of the period. Beatriz Chadour-Sampson has associated rings nearly identical to the current example with this trend in taste, and her research has suggested a specific provenance for their production, the Zeichenakademie Hanau. In this technical academy, the students were required in the early twentieth century to make a Renaissance-style ring as a part of their final examinations, and two drawings for similar rings annotated with detailed calculations for production costs survive.

Description
A slender hoop supports a massive projecting bezel incised and decorated with black enamel.  The emerald has been cut into a pyramid capped with a small square crown. The bezel and shoulders of the ring are adorned with cast grotteschi-derived strapwork ornament that bears substantial traces of enamel in red, white, and black. 

Literature
For Renaissance rings with pyramidal stones that served as models for the current ring, see the Victoria and Albert Museum (published in Oman, 1993, no. 293), the Ralph Harari Collection (published in Boardman and Scarisbrick, 1977, no. 175-176), Ashmolean Museum (published in Scarisbrick and Henig 2003, plate 22: 1), Hashimoto Collection (published in Scarisbrick 2004, no. 159).  For other examples dated to the nineteenth or early 20th century, see the Alice and Louis Koch Collection (published in Chadour 1994, nos. 1672-1684).

Reference number: 370-3

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