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Enamel and Gold Ring with Rock Crystal c 16th century

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Posted 2 years ago


(103 items)

A rare, 22k yellow gold ring from the 1500s is punctuated on top and back (as was customary for the time) with enamels of grey blue, black, maroon, green and white. It integrates a table cut (faceted with a flat top and just five simple slim polished edges) rock crystal, set closed back and foiled.

The crystal is set into a deep cinquefoil (five-sided) bezel with sides ornamented with indented cusps.

The evolution of this bezel comes from what is often referred to as a “pie dish” bezel which entirely encased a stone in unadorned metal with only the top of the gem being visible.

Also typical of the period, the shoulders are strongly emphasized with volutes and sculptural details as well as enameled. During a number of centuries, rock crystal was sometimes used in place of the very scarce diamond. While diamonds existed, they were exceedingly rare as most large diamond mines were not discovered until the 1800s.

For its age, the condition is quite remarkable with the ring being entirely intact and with a good deal of enamel remaining.


  1. racer4four racer4four, 2 years ago
    An exceptional piece of jewellery Bluboi.
    I can't believe it's age and beauty.
    Great info too...any idea where it was made?
  2. Bluboi Bluboi, 2 years ago
    Hello Racer. Thanks for your comments and question. I turned to my best reference work on rings, the two-volume set "Rings: The Alice and Louis Koch Collection" by Anna Beatriz Chadour. In going through it for examples, most are given a West European origin.
  3. BelleEpoque BelleEpoque, 2 years ago
  4. kyratango kyratango, 2 years ago
    Wow, delightful enamel on the back, and the state is so good, crystal seems bright as unworn!
    lovely antique ring:-D
  5. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
    Very beautiful!
  6. Agram.m Agram.m, 2 years ago
    A museum piece, wonderful!
  7. critchpics, 2 years ago
    Wonderful! Spanish maybe?
  8. Bluboi Bluboi, 2 years ago
    Certainly possible to be Spanish, though the Iberian pieces usually showcased gems (since they were busy bringing them back from the "New World"), as per your reference of the ring with emerald. I suspect the more generic West European may be the best we get.
  9. kivatinitz kivatinitz, 2 years ago
    very interesting trylly

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