Rings 19.03.2012

White Enamel and Amethyst Ring, 1770

White Enamel and Amethyst Ring, 1770

The curved inner shank of this piece reflects earlier construction from the first half of the 18th Century, but the style of the band had evolved greatly. From the 1740s (note the pieces from 1755 and 1761), the Rococo style was a popular art form that permeated fashion. Memorial jewellery often reflects the popular style of its age and this piece is no different. Showing a transition from the Rococo style (in the lack of scroll/ribbon motif), this band is straight edged with small flourishes at the top.

The Neoclassical influence of the round bezel to accommodate the amethyst and the curved area under the bezel is important to note, as these were typical of Neoclassical rings introduced post-1765.

Neoclassicism would soon replace the remnants of the Rococo era in this to become the common style. The centrepiece to this ring is clearly the large amethyst (sincerity / sobriety) on top. In much jewellery of the latter 18th century, it is not uncommon for stones to be paste with a foil backing (very common in “Regard” rings of this time), but items with the stone show wealth and prestige. Being a second stage mourning colour, the stone allows for the inclusion of colour and symbolism in jewellery.

White Enamel and Amethyst Ring, 1770

Another important feature of this ring is the white enamel, symbolising an unmarried woman, child or person of religious importance. The latter holds this dedication, as the white enamel is suited for the Reverend. White enamel is very desirable in memorial pieces for its rarity, as it wasn’t commonly used.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins
Year: 1770
Dedication: Rev Robt. Greenallob, 17th Dec, 1770 AE 40