These two rings originally came from two sisters in Ireland in 1790. Both are identical, but suffer from damage in different areas. The sheer size of these two navette shaped rings are impressive, as both are 5cm from top to bottom.
Surrounded with blue enamel and opalescent paint, these rings contain a high level of quality for their time. The colour, combined with the three dimensional art of the tomb is more uncommon in rings are more typical of pendants. To find pieces related from this time is quite difficult and pieces have been broken up and lost over time.
The shape of the rings are important to note for understanding contemporary pieces that may not have dedications or inscriptions. The navette shape, which originally elongated the oval shape and tapered to points at the north and south of the bezel became rounded during the 1790s. This was for function as well as form – as this shape could accommodate larger ivory painted depictions and other motifs.
It is the three-dimensional design of this ring that puts it on the higher level of quality from other mourning ring depictions. The use of space to put the willow on the glass in sepia and build the tomb in gold and ivory from the recessed ivory in the first level show a methodology in design that uses each element to build its space.
These rings are quite delicate and many of their contemporaries did not survive, however, much of the time they were not worn and kept as a souvenir of the departed loved one.
Note the blue enamel as a surrounding element. This is to show that someone was considered to be ‘royalty’ and in these rings, it’s a grand sentiment that supports such exceptional pieces.