Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring

RING AS TOKEN OF LOVE

England or America, about 1800-1820

Rose gold, pearls

  • 2.500 €
  • £2,200
  • $3,000
  • RING AS TOKEN OF LOVE

    England or America, about 1800-1820
    Rose gold, pearls
    Weight 3 gr.; circumference: 56.45 mm.; US size 7.75; UK size P 1/2

    The expression of love and friendship is universal in life as in death, and hair mementoes were not always mourning objects, as one may assume. Locks of hair or in plaited formations set in a jewel, most commonly in a ring or brooch, were often given as an expression of sentiment or fondness. Famously Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams and later George Washington had a similar ring made to present to the political writer during the American Revolution Mercy Otis Warren to celebrate their friendship after a rift and estrangement.

    Due to their symbolic meaning borders with seed pearls were favored for luxurious variants of sentimental jewelry. For centuries pearls conveyed deep-rooted and intimate messages of love and grief and symbolized purity, innocence and humility. By the late eighteenth century rings with this design were fashionable in both England and America.

    Description:
    The openwork hoop consists of two rounded wires which fork at the shoulders and are flattened to support the bezel. These flank an insert shaped like a pointed leaf. The rectangular bezel with rounded corners and curved to follow the line of the finger has a frame of densely set seed pearls. The central opening indicates that there would have been an insert with hair maybe with miniature initials in gold or a scene under crystal. The bezel insert is missing, but the ring is otherwise in good condition.

    Literature:
    For the above mentioned John and Abigail Adams ring, see: Sarah Nehama, ‘In Death Lamented’, pp. 96-7.  For an example of a memorial ring with diamond-studded hair panel and seed pearl borders dated 1786, cf. Scarisbrick 1993, p. 186 and cf. also ‘….mit schwarzem Schmucke oder mit Perlen’ Trauerschmuck vom Barock bis zum Art Deco’, Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel 1995, cat. nos. 29 and 85. 

    Reference number: 531

  • Pearls

    Organic gems grown within oysters and a few other mollusks, pearls are formed when a foreign object (like a tiny stone) has made its way into the mollusk's shell. The mollusk secretes nacre , a lustrous substance that coats the intruding object. As thousands of layers of nacre coat the intruder, a pearl is formed. This process takes up to seven or eight years (an oyster's useful life span).

    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

  • Memento Mori

    (Latin: "Think of Death"). A term to describe objects incorporating emblems of mortality, skulls, cadavers, coffins, etc., designed to remind the viewer of the inevitability of death.

  • 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.

  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
  • ring
ring

RING AS TOKEN OF LOVE

England or America, about 1800-1820
Rose gold, pearls
Weight 3 gr.; circumference: 56.45 mm.; US size 7.75; UK size P 1/2

USD $3,000

The expression of love and friendship is universal in life as in death, and hair mementoes were not always mourning objects, as one may assume. Locks of hair or in plaited formations set in a jewel, most commonly in a ring or brooch, were often given as an expression of sentiment or fondness. Famously Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams and later George Washington had a similar ring made to present to the political writer during the American Revolution Mercy Otis Warren to celebrate their friendship after a rift and estrangement.

Due to their symbolic meaning borders with seed pearls were favored for luxurious variants of sentimental jewelry. For centuries pearls conveyed deep-rooted and intimate messages of love and grief and symbolized purity, innocence and humility. By the late eighteenth century rings with this design were fashionable in both England and America.

Description:
The openwork hoop consists of two rounded wires which fork at the shoulders and are flattened to support the bezel. These flank an insert shaped like a pointed leaf. The rectangular bezel with rounded corners and curved to follow the line of the finger has a frame of densely set seed pearls. The central opening indicates that there would have been an insert with hair maybe with miniature initials in gold or a scene under crystal. The bezel insert is missing, but the ring is otherwise in good condition.

Literature:
For the above mentioned John and Abigail Adams ring, see: Sarah Nehama, ‘In Death Lamented’, pp. 96-7.  For an example of a memorial ring with diamond-studded hair panel and seed pearl borders dated 1786, cf. Scarisbrick 1993, p. 186 and cf. also ‘….mit schwarzem Schmucke oder mit Perlen’ Trauerschmuck vom Barock bis zum Art Deco’, Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel 1995, cat. nos. 29 and 85. 

Reference number: 531

You might also like

  • MEMORIAL RING

    England, 1840-5

  • POSY RING “IN THY SIGHT IS MY DELIGHT”

    England, mid-18th century

  • POSY RING "LET UARTU BE GIDE TO THE"

    England, 17th century

  • POSY RING "GOD ABOVE INCREASE OUR LOVE"

    England, 17th century

  • POSY RING “E.A. LOUE VERTUE”

    England, 17th century

  • POSY RING "HE THAT GAVE THIS GIVES HIM LIFE"

    Gold

  • CUPID CAMEO RING

    Roman Empire, 3rd century (?)

  • Medieval Knot Ring

    France, 15th century

  • POSY RING “GOD ABOVE INCREASE OUR LOVE”

    England, 17th century

  • Posy Ring, “ONE x CHOSEN x BOTH x HAPPY *”

    England, early 17th century

  • Posy Ring “A loving wife during life”

    England, mid-18th century

  • Signet Ring with True Lover’s Knot and the Initials “AI”

    England, 17th century

  • RING WITH GARNET CABOCHON

    Western Europe, probably England, late 13th-14th century

  • Byzantine Glass and Pearl Ring

    Byzantium, early 6th century AD

  • Ruby and Zircon Band Ring

    Northern India, late 19th century

  • Art Nouveau Ophelia Ring

    France, 1909

  • Art Nouveau Lady with Pearl Ring

    France or Belgium, c. 1900

  • Four First World War (or Patriotic) Iron Rings with Inscription “GOLD GAB ICH FÜR EISEN”

    Austro-Hungarian Empire / Germany, 1914-1919

  • “LOVE” Ring by Robert Indiana

    United States, 1969

  • Posy Ring, “Not the value but my love”

    England, late 17th - early 18th century

  • Posy Ring, “BOVND * BY * FATHE +”

    England, late 16th century

  • Posy Ring, “Hearts United live Contented”

    England, 18th century

  • Memorial Ring, “Remember EP”

    England, early 18th century

  • Mourning Ring

    England, 1820

  • Byzantine Cross Pendant with Chain

    Byzantium, 7th century AD

  • Renaissance Gold Ring

    Western Europe, likely Italy, mid-16th c.