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Ethereal Blue Sapphire 17th C. Ring

Item 11885

Here is an example of pure divinity in a flat cut almost lilac-blue sapphire stone set within a plinth of high carat yellow gold. The original sapphire is 0.65 mm square and set closed back in a mount typical for the period in a rub-over setting with a classic 17th century saw tooth bezel.

No modern method of working metal can achieve the burnished and smooth paper thin lip of gold that rests over the sapphire. Deeply chased, the perimeter presents with a row of arched columns; beneath are finely detailed quatrefoils and leaf forms.

It was just as important to ornament the underside as the top. The undercarriage is adorned with an exquisite pointed six-petal flower flanked by two leaves with tiny engraved lines. Formerly filled with colored enamel, all but a trace is remains. Tiny nuances of deep teal blue remain within crevices on the outside of the shank. All of the chasing and gold work remains deep and fine.

For somewhat similar examples refer to page 30 in “An Introduction to Rings” by Shirley Bury and pages 90 to 107 in “Rings” by Diana Scarisbrick.

Measurements: 5/16 of an inch (0.85 cm) in length by 3/8 of an inch (0.9 cm) in width. This antique ring has a weight of 3.8 grams (2.5 dwt).

Ring Size: US 7-1/2 (UK O-1/2; Euro 17.35, 56 mm) and can be sized to accommodate almost any hand.

Condition: Very fine; light wear overall commensurate with age and use; only tiny traces of enamel remain.

Date & Origin: Circa mid 17th to later 17th century and is most likely European in origin.

Historical Notes: In the seventeenth and earlier centuries rings were worn on any number of fingers and in a variety of ways. Paintings are one of the best first-hand sources for seeing how jewelry was worn. Typical were thumb rings, several rings on one finger and even rings held by string and worn on the wrist or neck. Since sizing of rings was not a common practice, when a ring was passed down or given as a gift, it frequently did not fit the individual. Consequently alternative methods were devised to wear rings.