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Home > Auctions > 21st February 2023 > Renaissance Gold Ring with Ruby and Enamelling

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LOT 0343

GBP (£) 18,000 - 24,000
EUR (€) 20,360 - 27,150
USD ($) 22,180 - 29,570

Opening Bid
£14,580 (EUR 16,491; USD 17,965) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

7/8 in. (4.66 grams, 22.94 mm overall, 16.90 mm internal diameter (approximate size British H, USA 3 3/4, Europe 6.18, Japan 6)).

A classic, Renaissance era gold ring composed of a slender D-section hoop, widening at the shoulders, fashioned as architectural capitals with strapwork and elaborate projecting scrolls in opaque white and blue enamel, embellished with red and green enamelled detailing; square bezel with box setting set with a table-cut ruby, pairs of blue enamelled cusplets to each of the four faces, stepped base below ornamented with a black enamelled bead moulded collar, bezel reverse of flat inverted pyramidal form and divided into four triangles, two with black enamelled hatching; retaining the majority of the original enamelling; accompanied by a Les Enluminures presentation box.

Acquired from Les Enluminures Ltd, Illinois, USA, 2016.
Property of an East Sussex collector.

Accompanied by a Les Enluminures certificate of authenticity.
Accompanied by a copy of the Les Enluminures invoice.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate no.11670-197580.

Cf. The V&A museum, accession number 731-1902, for a similar ring dated 1550-1600 A.D.; cf. Scarisbrick, D. et al., Toward an Art History of Medieval Rings: A private Collection, pp.204-205, for a similar ring; cf. The British Museum, museum number 1872,0604.425, 'Finger-ring; gold; on each shoulder a band of leaf shapes reserved in the metal on a ground of black enamel; pyramidal bezel, also enamelled in black, supported by four large claws, and containing a crystal', for a similar ring; cf. Chadour, A.B., Rings. The Alice and Louis Koch Collection, Vol. 1, Leeds, 1994, item 689, for similar.

Rubies were a potent symbol of status and social distinction in later medieval Europe, frequently adorning royal crowns. In the Renaissance, however, they conveyed a personal, more intimate message, their red colour, like the rose, emblematic of love. The intensity of the red colour was often enhanced with a foil lining to the setting and were popular as betrothal and wedding rings. It is believed that rubies symbolised the virtues of marriage and eternal matrimonial love. Such rings held an international appeal, making attribution to specific workshops or countries very difficult.
The V & A Museum explains that 'Renaissance, the ring developed from the simple forms of the medieval period into a miniature work of art, combining the skills of the chaser, engraver and enameller as well as the stone cutter.'