Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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TWO COLLARS FOR AN ABBESS

Spain, 17th century

Jet, thread

  • 106.100 €
  • £92,700
  • $125,000
  • TWO COLLARS FOR AN ABBESS

    Spain, 17th century
    Jet, thread

    COLLAR FOR AN ABBESS WITH SACRED HEART PENDANT
    Spain, 17th century
    Jet, thread
    Weight 175 grams; dimensions 69 cm (with heart), 63 cm (length of doubled
    necklace), heart 3.6 cm

    Description
    Long collar or necklace made of six strands of irregularly shaped small beads of carved and polished jet, interspersed with slightly larger faceted beads and rectangular bar and diamond shapes in varying sizes. When worn at shoulder height, the strands are bundled and verge into a double triangular feature, held by shell forms, interspersed with octagonal platelets and a dominant S-curve ornament. Suspended from the necklace is a Sacred Heart pendant with engraved Wound of Christ.

    Comparisons and Literature
    A similar necklace is in the museum of the monastery of Santa María la Real de las Huelgas in Valladolid, Spain, founded in 1300; see Franco Mata 2001, p. 219 and Franco Mata 2005, fig. 42. The nuns in the monastery are from the Cistercian Order, and wear white tunics. A seventeenth-century painting shows a noble lady surrounded by Cistercian nuns or abbesses wearing such jet necklaces resting on the shoulder and hanging down to the waist (Franco Mata 2001, pp. 215 and Franco Mata 2005, figs. 32, 40, 41). Cf. also a related necklace and heart-shaped pendant in the Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid (Franco Mata 2001, p. 217 and Franco Mata 2005, fig. 22).

    COLLAR OR NECKLACE FOR AN ABBESS WITH CROSS OF THE ORDER OF
    SANTIAGO

    Spain, 17th century
    Jet, thread
    Weight 204 grams; dimensions 77 cm (length of doubled necklace), each dragonshaped
    element 3 × 7 cm, large shells 3.4 cm, small shells 2.2 cm

    Description
    Long collar or necklace made of six strands of irregularly shaped small beads of carved and polished jet, interspersed with slightly larger faceted and octagonal beads and rectangular bar shapes in varying sizes. In between is a section formed of a double triangular feature, held by shell forms, some with the Cross of the Order of Santiago carved in relief and a flat dragon shape with engraved ornamentation.

    Comparisons and Literature
    Such necklaces were worn by abbesses (see no. 23). A related necklace is in the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid (exh. cat., El arte de la plata y de las joyas en la España de Carlos V 2000, no. 104). In Spain, mines of jet (azabache) are located around Villaviciosa, in the region of Asturias, and jet stone was considered to be a precious material. Noble ladies and abbesses wore jet necklaces, and items made from jet are mentioned in inventories and in Spanish literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For the history of jet, see Proske 1966, Muller 1987, pp. 101 12, Franco Matta 2001, and Franco Mata 2005. The Order of Santiago was a Christian military organization founded in Spain about 1160 to fight the Muslims of al-Andalus and to protect Christian pilgrims. Jewelry with the shell shape of the Cross of the Order of Santiago, particularly in pendants, appears in various materials ranging from enamels to diamonds; see Arbeteta Mira 2003, nos. 138, 139,

    Reference number: 0830

  • 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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TWO COLLARS FOR AN ABBESS

Spain, 17th century
Jet, thread

USD $125,000

COLLAR FOR AN ABBESS WITH SACRED HEART PENDANT
Spain, 17th century
Jet, thread
Weight 175 grams; dimensions 69 cm (with heart), 63 cm (length of doubled
necklace), heart 3.6 cm

Description
Long collar or necklace made of six strands of irregularly shaped small beads of carved and polished jet, interspersed with slightly larger faceted beads and rectangular bar and diamond shapes in varying sizes. When worn at shoulder height, the strands are bundled and verge into a double triangular feature, held by shell forms, interspersed with octagonal platelets and a dominant S-curve ornament. Suspended from the necklace is a Sacred Heart pendant with engraved Wound of Christ.

Comparisons and Literature
A similar necklace is in the museum of the monastery of Santa María la Real de las Huelgas in Valladolid, Spain, founded in 1300; see Franco Mata 2001, p. 219 and Franco Mata 2005, fig. 42. The nuns in the monastery are from the Cistercian Order, and wear white tunics. A seventeenth-century painting shows a noble lady surrounded by Cistercian nuns or abbesses wearing such jet necklaces resting on the shoulder and hanging down to the waist (Franco Mata 2001, pp. 215 and Franco Mata 2005, figs. 32, 40, 41). Cf. also a related necklace and heart-shaped pendant in the Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid (Franco Mata 2001, p. 217 and Franco Mata 2005, fig. 22).

COLLAR OR NECKLACE FOR AN ABBESS WITH CROSS OF THE ORDER OF
SANTIAGO

Spain, 17th century
Jet, thread
Weight 204 grams; dimensions 77 cm (length of doubled necklace), each dragonshaped
element 3 × 7 cm, large shells 3.4 cm, small shells 2.2 cm

Description
Long collar or necklace made of six strands of irregularly shaped small beads of carved and polished jet, interspersed with slightly larger faceted and octagonal beads and rectangular bar shapes in varying sizes. In between is a section formed of a double triangular feature, held by shell forms, some with the Cross of the Order of Santiago carved in relief and a flat dragon shape with engraved ornamentation.

Comparisons and Literature
Such necklaces were worn by abbesses (see no. 23). A related necklace is in the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid (exh. cat., El arte de la plata y de las joyas en la España de Carlos V 2000, no. 104). In Spain, mines of jet (azabache) are located around Villaviciosa, in the region of Asturias, and jet stone was considered to be a precious material. Noble ladies and abbesses wore jet necklaces, and items made from jet are mentioned in inventories and in Spanish literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For the history of jet, see Proske 1966, Muller 1987, pp. 101 12, Franco Matta 2001, and Franco Mata 2005. The Order of Santiago was a Christian military organization founded in Spain about 1160 to fight the Muslims of al-Andalus and to protect Christian pilgrims. Jewelry with the shell shape of the Cross of the Order of Santiago, particularly in pendants, appears in various materials ranging from enamels to diamonds; see Arbeteta Mira 2003, nos. 138, 139,

Reference number: 0830

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