Ring thumbnail 1
Ring thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery

Ring

1300-1400 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This gold ring is set with a sapphire, a popular choice of stone in the Middle Ages, worn by the nobility or royalty, the gem being by far the most valuable part of the ring. Gem rings were considered to have amuletic and protective power. Sapphires were believed by some writers to promote chastity,peace and reconciliation and to cure snake bites, also to have cooling powers to cure headaches and heal ulcers.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Engraved gold, sapphire
Brief Description
Gold ring, the hexagonal bezel set with a sapphire, the shoulders decorated with chased dragon-heads, possibly France, 1300-1400.
Physical Description
Gold ring, the cusped hexagonal bezel set with a sapphire. The shoulders of the bifaceted hoop decorated with chased dragon-heads, the base with a stylized cross motif.
Dimensions
  • Outside including stone height: 1.8cm
  • Width: 2.3cm
  • Diameter: 2.8cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Object history
From the Edmund Waterton collection. Said to be from Amiens.



Historical significance: This gold ring is set with a sapphire, a popular choice of stone in the Middle Ages, worn by the nobility or royalty, the gem being by far the most valuable part of the ring. Gem rings were considered to have amuletic and protective power. Sapphires were believed by some writers to promote chastity,peace and reconciliation and to cure snake bites, also to have cooling powers to cure headaches and heal ulcers.
Historical context
Rings set with gems were popular with all those who could afford them in the Middle Ages, and the most common stones used were sapphire, ruby, garnet, amethyst and rock crystal. Each stone was considered to have a different virtu or magical power, and gem-set rings were thought to have protective and amuletic powers.
Production
said to be from Amiens
Subject depicted
Summary
This gold ring is set with a sapphire, a popular choice of stone in the Middle Ages, worn by the nobility or royalty, the gem being by far the most valuable part of the ring. Gem rings were considered to have amuletic and protective power. Sapphires were believed by some writers to promote chastity,peace and reconciliation and to cure snake bites, also to have cooling powers to cure headaches and heal ulcers.
Bibliographic References
  • Bury, Shirley, Rings, London, HMSO, 1984, pl. 25E
  • Ward, A., et al., The Ring: From Antiquity to the Twentieth Century, London, Thames and Hudson, 1981
  • Taylor, G. and Scarisbrick, D., Finger Rings: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day, London, Lund Humphries, 1978
  • Scarisbrick, Diana, Rings: Symbols of Wealth and Power, London, Thames and Hudson, 1993
  • Oman, Charles, British Rings 800-1914, London, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1974
Collection
Accession Number
642-1871

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record createdMarch 14, 2006
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