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Early Table Cut Diamond Ring - 1500s!


The earliest gem and diamond “cuts” (shapes and faceting) were cabochons with a flat bottom and rounded top and sides or occasionally a pointed stone or diamond. The crystalline structure of the diamond enabled its use with very little polishing.

The next technological advance was the 16th century’s table cut diamond. The cut is so named for the simple fact that the top is flat much like that of an ordinary table. In addition, each of the four sides has a simple facet akin to that of a bevel.

Dating to mid to later 16th century, this treasure is outstanding in its design simplicity and high yellow gold content of 22k or more. The centered table cut diamond (4 mm by 3.5 mm) is set close backed with that characteristic gold cup. All around the base and four sides of the diamond the gold has been thinly burnished up covering all sides. Of special interest is a partial poesy (posy) incised to the interior. Hand engraved in Lombardic lettering typical to the period is the Latin phrase "runt duo m carne una" – loosely translated as “they shall unite as one”, or they two shall become one flesh. Runt = they, duo = two, carne = flesh and una= one. Exceptionally scarce, the overall form is reminiscent of the simplicity of design in the 13th -15th centuries. Yet the use of a table cut and Lombardic script place this in the 1500's.

For similar examples please see “Historic Rings” by Diana Scarisbrick page 66.

Date: Mid to later 16th century.

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Measurements: 3/16 of an inch (0.4 cm) in length north to south on the hand and rises 3/16 of an inch (0.4 cm) in height off the finger. Weight of 5.7 grams (3.6 dwt).

Ring Size: US 9 1/2 (UK S 1/2; Euro or Int. Circum. 60.8 mm; Int. Dia. 19.4 mm; Japan 19) and can be easily sized to fit most. Ring sizing information.

Condition: Excellent for its age; faint evidence of two previous resizings if viewed with magnification; possible partial posy.

Origin: English.

Note: Did you know there is an entire book by the noted British jewelry historian Joan Evans, dedicated to various posies cataloged by British museums and collections? It is entitled "English Posies & Posy Rings". Such sentiments annotated inside wedding and other meaningful rings run the gamut from "When Money's Low, This Ring Must Go" to the charming "Each day I dy if you denie" (Each day I die if you deny).

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