ashmolean

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Giardinetti ring

Probably English

Mid to late 18th century

Gold and silver giardinetti ring, the bezel shaped as a basket of flowers set with rubies, diamonds and emeralds in silver casing, the hoop chased at the shoulders in leafy scrolls

15.9 mm internal ring diameter; 4.8 g weight

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1897.CDEF.F581

Giardinetti (translates from Italian as 'little garden') rings became popular in the second half of the eighteenth century. The designs seem to evolve from the previous century when the supply of larger stones was limited, meaning craftsmen had to devise patterns that could utilise groups of smaller gems. Another important innovation in the late seventeenth century was the placing of the diamond in a silver setting as opposed to gold, thus avoiding the yellow reflections. This feature can be seen in these rings. These delicate asymmetrical openwork designs, however, are typical of the rococo taste of the later eighteenth century.

Taylor & Scarisbrick, Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the present day, 1978, no. 830