Silver Gilt Iconographic Finger Ring 'Reformation' Type
This is a nice Tudor period silver-gilt finger ring, dating to the 2nd quarter of the 16th century. The band is shaped for an iconographic type ring, though the panels are decorated with geometric designs.
This type of ring closely follows the shape of the late medieval iconographic ring, however, the lack of any religious imagery would suggest a later post-Reformation date. After the dissolution of the monasteries and the Act of Supremacy passed into law in 1534, King Henry was made Supreme Head of the Church in England. As part of this separation from Papal authority, Henry discouraged the religious imagery and idols from church and art. To display an iconographic ring with images of saints during this period, would be to declare oneself a Papist and an enemy of the new Church of England. As such those jewelers employed with supplying the church, pilgrims, and religious benefactors, had to find new employment or adapt to the new trend. This ring is one such piece, crafted in minimalist taste, with simple geometric design (where originally saints would have been engraved).
The ring has survived in good excavated condition, though bears an old repair inside the band (this is tight and not a crack). The ring much of the original gilding has worn, a testament to many years of active service to its original owner. Today this lovely ancient ring is perfectly suitable for contemporary wear.
OBJECT: Finger Ring
DATE: c. 1530 - 1550
RING SIZE: 9 (US) R 3/4 (UK)
SIZE: 22.19mm x 22.31mm x 5.80mm (bezel 15.12mm x 9mm x 1.60mm)
WEIGHT: 5.50 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private collection Washington originally found near Durham during the late 1980's.