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Rare 17th C. Emerald & Diamond Ring


This high carat 17th century finger ring represents a form typical of the later decades of the 1600s with a central gem set in a rub over bezel. Note that the square base or mount is cusped along the perimeter. Initially used during the 14th century, it was again prevalent from the 16th through the 17th century.

Centered is a table cut emerald flanked on each side by a trio of table cut diamonds. This was one of the earliest cuts and predates the rose or any brilliant cut such as the old mine cut. The table cut gem has a flat top with four simple and narrow facets on the edges set into a deep well or mount.

Here the emerald is set within 20k yellow gold on an castellated silver open work under gallery and the diamonds in rub over bezels or “pillows” of silver. Much of the underside of the gallery is embellished with the original deep green enamel punctuated with tiny white enamel dots. The 20k yellow gold shank is a vision in detail and imagery with what appears to set a pair of clasped or intertwined hands (male and female) and arms swathed in period dress.

Date: Late 17th century.

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Measurements: 3/8 of an inch (.9 cm) north to south on the finger at the widest and 1 1/2 inches across for the gem and diamond area (1.8 cm). Weight of 3.9 grams (2.5 dwt).

Ring Size: US 7 1/2 (UK P; Euro or Int. Circum. 55.3 mm, Japan 15; Int. Dia. 17.75 mm) and can be easily sized by our expert jewelers to fit most. We do not recommend sizing other than with our own jewelers due to its age. Ring sizing information.

Condition: Excellent for its over 300 years of existence; Slight wear to the facets and surface of the emerald visible with a loupe; one diamond chipped, general wear to the gold; enamel is about 45% present.

Origin: Possibly Spanish in origin.

Historical Notes: The technique of enameling has been one of the primary ornamental elements used for jewelry. At its peak artistically from the 15th through the 17th century, precious gems and diamonds were not only very costly, they were extremely scarce. Consequently the decorative enamel became “the jewel”. The 18th century was fraught with the discovery of new diamond and gemstone mines. Although still steep in price, these gems became more available and integrated into the jewelry of the time. Enameling was on the wane as major ornamentation and became relegated to application on the reverse of jewels only to then methodically disappear almost entirely from use until the late years of the 1700s.

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