Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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“Sarah Bernhardt” Art Nouveau Ring by André Rambour

France, dated 25 February 1902

Gold, rubies and diamonds

  • 15.700 €
  • £13,800
  • $18,000
  • “Sarah Bernhardt” Art Nouveau Ring by André Rambour

    France, dated 25 February 1902
    Gold, rubies and diamonds
    Weight 7.4 gr.; circumference 53.82 mm.; US size 6 ¾; UK size N ½

    The bezel of this ring displays the frontal face of Sarah Bernhardt, two sculpted flowers set with rubies at her temple, a tiara with diamonds at her forehead, surmounted with three diamonds arranged in a triangle, and wearing a pendant composed of a diamond. Tresses of her fl owing hair form the band. The interior of the hoop bears the date “25 février 1902” and the number “3363,” as well as the mark of the Art Nouveau jeweler André Rambour. The 1896 poster by Alfonse Mucha (1860-1939) inspired this ring. In an image virtually identical to that of the ring, Mucha represented the great tragic actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) in the role of Gismonda, a Byzantine princess, heroine of the melodrama in four acts by Victorien Sardou (1831-1908), first performed in Paris in 1895.

    Reference number: 881

  • Diamond

    Precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon, diamonds are one of the hardest materials known. Colors of diamonds range from colorless, yellow, orange, brown, to almost black. Rarer colors are red, blue, green, and purple; these colors (called fancies) are quite valuable. The largest-known gem-quality diamonds include the Cullinan (e. g., the Star of Africa, 530.20 carats), the Excelsior , the Great Mogul (an ancient Indian diamond which is said to have originally weighed 787.5 carats, but its location is unknown), the Darya-i-Nur , the Koh-i-Nur , and the Hope diamond (named for a purchaser, Henry Thomas Hope).

    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.

    Hoop

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

  • 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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“Sarah Bernhardt” Art Nouveau Ring by André Rambour

France, dated 25 February 1902
Gold, rubies and diamonds
Weight 7.4 gr.; circumference 53.82 mm.; US size 6 ¾; UK size N ½

USD $18,000

The bezel of this ring displays the frontal face of Sarah Bernhardt, two sculpted flowers set with rubies at her temple, a tiara with diamonds at her forehead, surmounted with three diamonds arranged in a triangle, and wearing a pendant composed of a diamond. Tresses of her fl owing hair form the band. The interior of the hoop bears the date “25 février 1902” and the number “3363,” as well as the mark of the Art Nouveau jeweler André Rambour. The 1896 poster by Alfonse Mucha (1860-1939) inspired this ring. In an image virtually identical to that of the ring, Mucha represented the great tragic actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) in the role of Gismonda, a Byzantine princess, heroine of the melodrama in four acts by Victorien Sardou (1831-1908), first performed in Paris in 1895.

Reference number: 881

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