- Place of origin:
- Materials and Techniques:
Carnelian in a gold mount
- Credit Line:
Bequeathed by the Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 50, shelf L, box 129
When quartz forms as a mass of microscopically small crystals it is known as ‘microcrystalline quartz’ or ‘cryptocrystalline quartz’. This family includes all varieties of chalcedony such as agate, carnelian and sard. Opaque, granular microcrystalline quartz is known as jasper. Chalcedonies and jaspers occur in a huge variety of colours, created by small amounts of impurities such as iron, manganese and chrome.
This ring forms part of a collection of 154 gems bequeathed to the V&A by the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend, a cleric and poet. Sir A. H. Church gave additional specimens in 1913. He also compiled the first catalogue Precious Stones: A Guide to the Townshend Collection. The first edition appeared in 1883. The stones are mounted as rings, although they may not have been intended to be worn.
Ring with a carnelian chalcedony intaglio of a quadriga, lettered 'INVICT / AUR'. Set in a gold mount.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Carnelian in a gold mount
Marks and inscriptions
lettered INVICT / AUR
invictum aurum or unconquered gold'
Height: 2.2 cm, Width: 2.1 cm, Depth: 2.2 cm
Object history note
The Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend bequeathed his important collection of 154 gems to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) in 1869. Although the collection is not as comprehensive as that found at the Natural History Museum, it is of particular historic interest as its formation pre-dates the development of many synthetic gemstones and artificial enhancements. All the stones were mounted as rings before they came to the Museum, mainly in a series of standardised gold settings, often of the coronet or galleried type. However, several specimens are set with greater elaboration, with diamond borders surrounding the central stone. Some of these were originally in the possession of Henry Philip Hope (d.1839), a brother of the novelist and antiquary Thomas Hope (c. 1770-1831). H.P. Hope formed a famous collection of diamonds and precious stones which was largely inherited by his three nephews. His collection, which included the Hope blue diamond, now in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, was catalogued by B. Hertz in 1839.
Townshend is recorded as having made purchases from it and his acquisitions are noted below. He also seems to have remounted several of his purchases, in whole or in part.
Gold ring, carnelian chalcedony intaglio of a quadriga and lettered 'INVICT / AUR', made in Europe, 1800-1869
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Sir A H Church, Precious Stones: A Guide to the Townshend Collection, 1883
Clare Phillips, Jewels and Jewellery, V&A Publications 2000.
Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project