Late 17th Century Garnet Ring
Throughout history of all the types of jewelry, the ring has been laden the most with meaning, symbolism and sentiment. Dating back to the earliest of times, rings held high importance socially, economically and emotionally. Seventeenth century rings from Europe and Britain do not vary as much in motif as do pieces from later centuries. As so few survive, it is always a thrilling discovery when one emerges.
Possibly Spanish in origin, this lovely example dates to the later part of the 17th century. In very fine condition as most of the original enamel is still intact except for a few tiny loses. It is set with a flat cut garnet in the center and with six faceted garnets, three on each side. All are foiled and deeply set within high carat gold. The enamel work is on the under gallery, black with tiny white enamel dots of color, along the band or shank on the sides as well as small amounts in between the side gems. This under gallery with its arched recesses, and the use of infill of black enamel and white dots is a motif seen throughout this time period. Examples can be found in Diana Scarisbrick “Ring's, Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection”, pages 93 - 99. Those which are illustrated in the reference are more elaborate but the under gallery (filled with enamel) is quite similar.
The configuration of a central stone and three stones in a triangular placement on each side is a design element also prevalent during this era. Sometimes occurring in rings of Spanish and Portuguese origins, the style remained in vogue for some years. Strong in essence, the geometries are solid and crisp.
All gems appear original, and again, enamel nearly entirely intact. The gold work under the central stone is quite handsome with almost half moon forms engraved into the gold center pointing upward. The main garnet is a deep wine burgundy color and has good life and depth; the sides are a touch lighter in color and have a bit more fire. The size is currently just under a US 6 (UK L-¼; Euro 16.5) but could be sized. The main area of the ring measures 3/8 of an inch in height with the entire stone and cluster area measuring ¾ of an inch in length. Again, the scale is petite to medium and a bit larger than some early rings, but not overly so. Very scarce.
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