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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1730-60 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold and silver, set with rose-cut diamonds, rubies and emeralds

  • Museum number:

    970-1871

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 12, shelf A, box 8

Flowers were a fashionable theme in jewellery from about 1750 to 1800. Intricate and colourful rings were known as giardinetti('little garden') or in England, as 'flowerpot'. They had tiny blossoms set with an assortment of precious stones, asymmetrically arranged in a basket, vase or pot. They are characteristic of the light, delicate and sometimes asymmetric rococo style which was fashionable in Europe. The stones could be a mixture of coloured stones to simulate the shades of the flowers or just one stone. It was usual for diamonds to be set in silver at this date so that that the whiteness of the metal enhanced the diamond.

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.

Physical description

Gold giardinetti ring, with an openwork bezel in the form of a vase of flowers, set with rose-cut diamonds, rubies and emeralds in silver collets

Place of Origin

England (probably, made)

Date

1730-60 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Gold and silver, set with rose-cut diamonds, rubies and emeralds

Dimensions

Height: 1.7 cm bezel, Width: 1.9 cm bezel

Object history note

ex Waterton Collection

Descriptive line

Gold giardinetti ring, with an openwork bezel in the form of a vase of flowers, set with rose-cut diamonds, rubies and emeralds in silver collets, 1730-1760.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bury, Shirley, Jewellery Gallery Summary Catalogue (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982), 34/B/26
Oman, Charles, Catalogue of rings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1930, reprinted Ipswich, 1993, p. 75, cat. 350
Church, Rachel, Rings, London, V&A Publishing, 2011, p. 60, fig. 70
Bury, Shirley, Introduction to Rings, London, 1984, p. 35, cat. 38A

Materials

Gold; Diamond; Ruby; Emerald

Subjects depicted

Flowers

Categories

Jewellery; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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