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Ring thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Ring

1640-60 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The red almandine garnet surrounded by pearls suggests a flower, symbol of love. The red of the garnet was often used to symbolise passion whilst the pearls signified purity. The central garnet is engraved with two clasped hands, a motif known as a 'fede', from the Italian 'mani in fede' or hands clasped in trust. It could also be known as a 'hand in hand' ring. The clasped hands represent the handclasp which formed part of the marriage service and suggest that this ring was made as a love gift or wedding ring. The back of the bezel is painted with a pretty, enamelled flower, visible only to the owner.

This ring forms part of a collection of 760 rings and engraved gems from the collection of Edmund Waterton (1830-87). Waterton was one of the foremost ring collectors of the nineteenth century and was the author of several articles on rings, a book on English devotion to the Virgin Mary and an unfinished catalogue of his collection (the manuscript is now the National Art Library). Waterton was noted for his extravagance and financial troubles caused him to place his collection in pawn with the London jeweller Robert Phillips. When he was unable to repay the loan, Phillips offered to sell the collection to the Museum and it was acquired in 1871. A small group of rings which Waterton had held back were acquired in 1899.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Enamelled gold set with pearls surrounding an almandine garnet engraved with clasped hands
Brief Description
Enamelled gold fede ring, with a lozenge shaped bezel set with pearls surrounding an almandine garnet engraved with clasped hands, Italy, 1640-60.
Physical Description
Enamelled gold fede ring, with a lozenge shaped bezel set with pearls surrounding an almandine garnet engraved with clasped hands, the back of the bezel engraved with a red flower, with later Roman mark for gold (1815-70)
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.8cm
  • Width: 2.3cm
  • Depth: 1.7cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Roman mark for gold (1815-70)
Object history
Ex Waterton Collection. A ring with an emerald engraved with clasped hands was sold at Bonhams, London, 2004. There is a ring in the Koch collection (cat. 766) which is a has a crude cross shape and is set with a green glass imitation stone formed as a pair of clasped hands.
Subjects depicted
Summary
The red almandine garnet surrounded by pearls suggests a flower, symbol of love. The red of the garnet was often used to symbolise passion whilst the pearls signified purity. The central garnet is engraved with two clasped hands, a motif known as a 'fede', from the Italian 'mani in fede' or hands clasped in trust. It could also be known as a 'hand in hand' ring. The clasped hands represent the handclasp which formed part of the marriage service and suggest that this ring was made as a love gift or wedding ring. The back of the bezel is painted with a pretty, enamelled flower, visible only to the owner.



This ring forms part of a collection of 760 rings and engraved gems from the collection of Edmund Waterton (1830-87). Waterton was one of the foremost ring collectors of the nineteenth century and was the author of several articles on rings, a book on English devotion to the Virgin Mary and an unfinished catalogue of his collection (the manuscript is now the National Art Library). Waterton was noted for his extravagance and financial troubles caused him to place his collection in pawn with the London jeweller Robert Phillips. When he was unable to repay the loan, Phillips offered to sell the collection to the Museum and it was acquired in 1871. A small group of rings which Waterton had held back were acquired in 1899.
Bibliographic References
  • Church, Rachel, Rings, London, V&A Publishing, 2011, p. 54-55, fig. 65
  • Bury, Shirley, Jewellery Gallery Summary Catalogue (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982), 33/L/10
  • Oman, Charles, Catalogue of rings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1930, reprinted Ipswich, 1993, p. 105, cat. 667
Collection
Accession Number
857-1871

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record createdNovember 21, 2005
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