Fair  October 2, 2018  Ettagale Blauer

A World History Through Finger Rings

Les Enluminures

A Rare and Finely Carved Gothic Gemstone Portrait of the Virgin Mary, France, cameo, middle of the 13th Century in a 19th-century setting, gold and garnet.

Just two dozen rings encapsulate the history of the world as seen in the exhibition, “The Fashioned Hand: Historic Finger Rings.” These twenty-four remarkable and remarkably preserved rings are from the collection amassed by Les Enluminures, a unique firm dedicated to documenting medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, miniatures, and finger rings. The rings, spanning two millennia, will be on display at Frieze Masters, Stand A4, Regent’s Park London from October 4-7, 2018.

A Monumental Renaissance Gemstone Rong with Two Stags and Exceptional Provenance
Les Enluminures

A Monumental Renaissance Gemstone Rong with Two Stags and Exceptional Provenance, possibly France, middle of the 16th century, gold, emeralds, rubies and enamel. Provenance: Guillou and Harari collection.

A Monumental Renaissance Gemstone Rong with Two Stags and Exceptional Provenance
Les Enluminures

A Monumental Renaissance Gemstone Rong with Two Stags and Exceptional Provenance, possibly France, middle of the 16th century, gold, emeralds, rubies and enamel. Provenance: Guillou and Harari collection.

A Monumental Renaissance Gemstone Rong with Two Stags and Exceptional Provenance
Les Enluminures

A Monumental Renaissance Gemstone Rong with Two Stags and Exceptional Provenance, possibly France, middle of the 16th century, gold, emeralds, rubies and enamel. Provenance: Guillou and Harari collection.

Les Enluminures

From 500 AD, a Byzantium gold ring features a large polished amethyst, cut as a high cabochon.

 

 

Dr. Sandra Hindman, who founded Les Enluminures, organized the rings into four categories she describes as “Bold, Classic, Opulent, and Playful.” As she says in the exhibition catalogue preface, the categories are arbitrary. It is the historic and artistic importance of each ring that makes them worth collecting and viewing.

The scholarly introduction to the impressive catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, by Jonquil O’Reilly, from Christie’s Old Master Paintings department, traces the history of portraiture as it relates to jewelry, showing the tremendous importance these small objects had in the opulent portrayals of the wealthy clientele who commissioned the paintings and owned the jewels.

 

 

Renaissance era signet ring, dated late 15th to early 16th century
Les Enluminures

Renaissance era signet ring, dated late 15th to early 16th century, features a shield with a fish and the initials “R S” in reverse.  When used as a seal, the initials would appear in correct perspective.

A hammered gold Byzantine ring, circa 550-650 AD
Les Enluminures

A hammered gold Byzantine ring, circa 550-650 AD, features an engraved image of an Archangel.

About the Author

Ettagale Blauer

Ettagale Blauer is an author and authority on all aspects of jewelry design, wristwatches, as well as diamonds and gold, and is the author of Contemporary American Jewelry Design, the seminal book on the subject. She has also written extensively about Africa, including a series of books for Grolier Publishing. Most recently, she published Woodstock 1969, The Lasting Impact of the Counter Culture, with photography by Jason Lauré, available now from the author.