Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Ruby and Zircon Band Ring

Northern India, late 19th century

Gold, rubies and zircons

  • 10.200 €
  • £9,300
  • $12,000
  • Ruby and Zircon Band Ring

    Northern India, late 19th century
    Gold, rubies and zircons
    Weight 6.1 gr., US size 11, UK size V ½

    This ring is composed of fifteen octagonal box settings forming a circular band. Alternately set are rubies (or spinels) and zircons in cabochon cut with underlying foils to enhance the color. The settings are individually adapted for each stone. The interior of the band is enameled with stylized red flowers on a white background and with leaves in translucent green. The same green enamel is applied to the sides of the ring. Probably made by an Indian jeweler in India, this ring may well have been intended for a British customer as a marriage ring. Indian jewelry had become extremely fashionable in England after 1876, when Queen Victoria (1819-1901) declared herself Empress of India. Furthermore, at this time India was producing and exporting rings much like this one to Victorian England. Different gemstones were set along the bands of these popular rings, known as love rings, so that the first letters of the names of the stones spelled out words like “regard” (ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, and diamond) or “dearest” (diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby emerald, sapphire, and topaz). This fashion may have been inspired by a tradition of women’s rings in southern India, in which their names were spelled out in the same way by gemstones

    Reference number: 518

  • 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.

    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.

    Box setting

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

    Hoop

    Also called the shank, the rounded part of the ring that encircles the finger and connects to the bezel at the shoulders.

    Band

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

    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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ring

Ruby and Zircon Band Ring

Northern India, late 19th century
Gold, rubies and zircons
Weight 6.1 gr., US size 11, UK size V ½

USD $12,000

This ring is composed of fifteen octagonal box settings forming a circular band. Alternately set are rubies (or spinels) and zircons in cabochon cut with underlying foils to enhance the color. The settings are individually adapted for each stone. The interior of the band is enameled with stylized red flowers on a white background and with leaves in translucent green. The same green enamel is applied to the sides of the ring. Probably made by an Indian jeweler in India, this ring may well have been intended for a British customer as a marriage ring. Indian jewelry had become extremely fashionable in England after 1876, when Queen Victoria (1819-1901) declared herself Empress of India. Furthermore, at this time India was producing and exporting rings much like this one to Victorian England. Different gemstones were set along the bands of these popular rings, known as love rings, so that the first letters of the names of the stones spelled out words like “regard” (ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, and diamond) or “dearest” (diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby emerald, sapphire, and topaz). This fashion may have been inspired by a tradition of women’s rings in southern India, in which their names were spelled out in the same way by gemstones

Reference number: 518

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