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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    Europe (made)

  • Date:

    1800-69 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Faceted fire opal, mounted in gold

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sir A. H. Church

  • Museum number:

    M.8-1913

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 50, shelf M, box 168

Opal is created when water containing microscopically small spheres of silica settles in cavities and veins in the Earth. Opals occur in a great variety of body colours. Those with an iridescent play of colour are known as 'precious', those without are termed 'common'. Opals contain up to 10% water. This makes them particularly vulnerable to damage from dehydration and from immersion in some cleaning products. Fire opal is a variety of opal which is often reddish or orange. Unlike other kinds of opal, it can be cut with facets.

The V&A owns an important collection of 154 gems bequeathed by the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend, a cleric and poet. Sir A. H. Church gave additional specimens, including this one, 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.

Physical description

Fire opal, orange red, faceted and mounted in a gold ring with a coronet setting.

Place of Origin

Europe (made)

Date

1800-69 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Faceted fire opal, mounted in gold

Dimensions

Height: 0.42 in, Width: 0.35 in

Object history note

The V&A owns an important collection of 154 gems bequeathed by the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend (1798-1868), cleric and poet. Additional specimens, including this one, were given in 1913 by Sir A H Church, who compiled the first catalogue Precious Stones: A Guide to the Townshend Collection, first edition, 1883. The stones are mounted as rings, although they may not necessarily have been intended to be worn.

Descriptive line

Fire opal, orange-red body colour, faceted and mounted in a gold ring, 1800-69, Europe

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

Clare Phillips, Jewels and Jewellery, V&A Publications 2000.

Materials

Opal; Gold

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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