Exceptionally Rare 16th C. Tudor Ring
With Henry VIII as father and Anne Boleyn as mother, Elizabeth I had her work cut out for her. Time of rogues, of saints, of scandals, of great minds and greater writers—this was the era that brought a most distinctive style to the forefront. Imagine wearing a piece of history on your hand - a ring hailing from the Elizabethan period or just prior.
Most remarkably, this exceptionally rare high carat yellow gold ring of almost five hundred years of age still has its original garnet. The flat or table-cut stone has been set into the characteristic 16th century quatrefoil (box) bezel which was envisaged as a flower with its drooping petals clasping the gem. On verso of stone is a formed design that incorporates the structural aspect of the shoulders as they conclude into a tapering slender hoop.
Similar examples can be found in Charles Oman's "British Rings", plate 26, figure A and also plates 24 and 25, in Diana Scarisbrick's book, "Finger Rings" on page 56 and 57 and an almost exact ring in Scarisbrick's “Rings, Symbols of Power Love and Loyalty” on page 245.
Measurements: 7/16 of an inch (1.2 cm) in width from cusp to cusp and rises 5/16 of an inch (0.8 cm) off the finger. The weight of this antique ring is 4.2 grams (2.7 dwt). The garnet itself is 7 mm wide by 5 mm high.
Ring Size: US 7-1/2 (UK O-1/2, Euro 17-3/4, 56 mm) and can be sized to fit any hand.
Condition: Excellent overall for its age; some surface wear as expected with age and use; one minute indent. Gold remains with its original "excavated patina" and has a bit more patina in the crevices. Items which are found by excavation or by metal detection have this characteristic matte finish. We have not touched or polished the ring.
Date & Origin: Circa mid 16th century and is English in origin.
Historical Note: This and similar cusp forms of ring were in favor from the 13th to the 16th century, although most frequently in the 15th and 16th centuries. Back then, styles of fashion and jewelry of course did not change nearly as frequently as our modern, "fashion changes in a minute" whirlwind. These austere and supremely elegant rings were worn on every finger and sometimes two to a finger. Paintings of the period often portray the sitter with multiple rings. Being small and petite in scale, it allowed them to be worn in this fashion.
The flat cut gem was one of the earlier gem cuts. First, the cabochon (flat bottom and rounded smooth top) was the polish of choice. But from this evolved this cut - a few simple facets on the edges and a planar flat top. We see this cut in use even through the beginning of the 18th century and it waned in popularity for more faceted gems and diamonds.
**Important: Although this ring is quite airtight, we recommend that it should not be exposed to any liquids, water, cleaning products or harsh chemicals. If considering this as an engagement ring, please keep this in mind.