Late Medieval Diamond Posy Ring

15th century diamond posy ring

A fifteenth century English ring

yellow gold, mounted with an uncut diamond crystal, of octahedral form cleaved in half in a square box-shaped bezel with chamfered edges, to a twisted cable form hoop with alternating twists of engraved cross hatching.

The diamond is of Indian origin. In the fifteenth century India was the sole source for diamonds and they were traded from the subcontinent to Venice, Antwerp and Amsterdam. The presence of a rough diamond crystal in a ring of this period is unusual. As diamonds had been cut in Europe since the early fourteenth century and by the fifteenth century point cut stones were used. The diamond in the ring has a peculiar crystal habit; it has grown irregularly, with ridges along the edges of the stone. It was probably left uncut because this unusual crystal form was prized.

Provenance:

English, circa 1460.

Discovered on 15th June 2008 by a metal detectorist in the area of Hambleton. Hambleton is a village nearby the Cistercian Abbey of Rievaulx in North Yorkshire. Treasure report no. 2008 T367. Disclaimed on 25th September 2009.

For another example of a fifteenth century ring mounted with a diamond crystal and one showing similar cabling hoop detail C.f. O.M. Dalton, Catalogue of Finger Rings in the British Museum (1912) nos. 720 & 928.

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15th century diamond posy ring

chamfer |ˈCHamfər| verb [ with obj. ]
in carpentry, cut away (a right-angled edge or corner) to make a symmetrical sloping edge.