- Place of origin:
- Materials and Techniques:
Malachite, set in gold
- 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 P, box 177
Malachite is a vivid green mineral of copper carbonate. When polished, the light and dark green banding gives it a very attractive and distinctive appearance. It is often made into beads but larger pieces such as bowls or carved figures can also be made. Copper carbonate is a corrosion product of copper and as such, malachite is found in large quantities in copper-mining areas.
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 of opaque, bluish-green malachite with a convex top, set in a gold coronet mount.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Malachite, set in gold
Diameter: 0.5 in
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.
Malachite set in gold ring, 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, Chapman and Hall Ltd
Clare Phillips, Jewels and Jewellery, V&A Publications 2000.
Malachite (mineral); Gold
Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project