Scarce Georgian Blackamoor Bloodstone Seal Ring
Signet or seal rings have been part of the history of man since the earliest of times. In the 18th century signet rings once again came into vogue as collections or used to seal correspondence.
Here is an example of a Georgian era ring which is scarce and depicts an image of unusual subject matter. The intaglio is itself is fantastic; the image is finely carved within the matrix of a bloodstone—dark green and mottled with red. It depicts the head and shoulders profile of a Nubian or Blackamoor placed atop a crown. The eight sided hardstone is set within a closed back rose gold ring mount with an engraved perimeter. Expanded shoulders chased with a subtle pattern gently descend and conclude with a smooth silken shank.
Condition: Very good to excellent; light wear to only surface of stone; metal has light to medium wear with all the hand engraving intact.
Measurements: 1-3/16 inches (3 cm) in length by ¾ of an inch (1.9 cm) in width. This antique ring has a weight of 4.8 grams (3.1 dwt). Currently a size US 6-1/2 (UK M-1/2; Euro 53.5, 17 mm).
Date: Circa 1790
Historical Note: The word “Blackamoor" (in Italian Moretto, Moretti) is a recognized, standard term which refers to a specific type of motif - that of a black African. Imagery such as this has been used in sculpture, jewelry, armorial designs and the decorative arts and was and still is a specialty of Venice since the 16th century, although also produced elsewhere. According to Newman’s “An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry” such pieces were made as a cameo or as an ornament in the round to decorate a pendant, brooch, hatpin or the shank of a seal. The word itself is thought to come from the Middle English "blacke Moor".