This is an excellent example of a medieval gold finger ring, dating to the 13th century. It is set with the original sapphire gemstone, within a closed collet setting. The bezel tightly rubbed around the gem, keeping is still securely in position. Such rings with sapphires were popular from the 12th - 14th century, being superseded by the ruby.
The sapphire is of a perfect colour, so revered by medieval merchants and goldsmiths: "A good sapphire resembles good azure pigment, and is on the white side" (Merchant Giovanni da Uzzano, writing in 1440). "The sapphire is beautiful, and worthy to shine on the fingers of a king. In color it resembles the sky when it is pure and free from clouds"..."He who wears it must live chastely and honorably; so shall he never feel the distress of poverty" (‘Les Lapidaires Français du Moyen Âge,’) Throughout history, many powers have been attributed to sapphire. During the middle ages, sapphire was believed to shield the wearer from harm and disease and was used as an antidote against poison. It was the stone of choice for the ecclesiastic "... like the pure sky, and mighty Nature has endowed it with so great a power that it might be called sacred and the gem of gems" (after Kunz, mentioning Friburgi, 1531).
OBJECT: Finger Ring
DATE: c. 1150 - 1250 A.D.
MATERIAL: Gold & Sapphire
RING SIZE: 7 3/4 (US) P 1/2 (UK)
SIZE: 22mm x 21mm x 1mm (Bezel 5mm x 4mm)
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private Collection, Wiltshire.
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