Dating to c.1620-1630 for the hand painted enamel miniature, this ring comes directly from my personal collection of early jewelry, but I rarely wear it, so I am presenting it for the first time to my Ruby Lane clientele!
Measuring 1.75 mm x 15 mm across the bezel, this fabulous ring is set with a highly-detailed, hand-painted enamel on copper portrait of Frederick V of the Palatinate (26 August 1596 – 29 November 1632)! Frederick V is also known as "The Winter King," and reigned for just over a year, from 26 August 1619 – 8 November 1620. He served as Elector Palentine from 1610 to 1623, and died at the young age of 36. He was also father-in-law to James VI of Scotland and I of England, and his daughter, Princess Sophie, was instrumental in the ascension of the Hanover dynasty in England.
In this impressively tiny image, we see Frederick depicted as a beardless gentleman in his mid-20s, dressed in an up-to-the-minute fashion for the decade! Frederick is intricately painted with medium-brown, naturally wavy hair, a small, upturned mustache, brown eyes, and a ruddy complexion. He wears a low, pleated ruff, and a black doublet with decorative buttons; by 1620, the tall, starched Elizabethan ruffs had fallen out of fashion in favor of this elegant, pleated version, which would remain in style until c.1635. The background is painted in gold stippled with black enamel. As is typical with 17th-century enamels, the reverse of the bezel displays counter-enameling in robin's egg blue.
When I first acquired this miniature, it was bezeled in silver gilt, which was in very poor condition. The portrait, however, was perfect, so I had my bench jeweler set the portrait into the 18k yellow gold ring you see here (unmarked but tested). The bezel of the ring is rubbed-over, and is further protected by a gold brace at the back. Not only has this nearly 400-year-old portrait survived into the 21st century in all-original condition, but it is miraculously free of cracks, chips, in-painting, or damage! There are a couple of minuscule surface scratches, but this can only be seen under 10x magnification, and is considered perfectly acceptable in a miniature of this great age. The result is an impressive, historic jewel which is sturdy enough for wear by a lady or a gentleman! JUST SPLENDID!
This ring is a size 5 1/4, but the plainness of the rear of the shank would allow for easy re-sizing; I recommend that this only be performed by laser. Suitable for wear by a lady or as a pinky ring by a gentleman, this important portrait jewel is a joy to behold, and represents a fine investment for the committed collector of Stuart-era jewelry. I have enjoyed wearing this stunning jewel for over 15 years, but it is time to pass it on to the next curator! The ring weighs 3.98 grams.
If you collect the ULTIMATE in early portrait miniatures or 17th-century jewelry, this distinguished ring belongs on your hand and in your collection! It would also make a thrilling gift for anyone fond of English or German history, and will be shipped in a gift box. As with all of my items pre-dating 1700, this ring will be sold with a COA and valuation for your insurance records at no extra charge. Do not miss this amazing survival; up to 90-day layaway is available, and USPS Priority mail shipping is FREE!
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