Dating medieval rings

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Two medieval rings expected to sell at auction for £30,000

Slope rings Lead carriers with proper or knotted hangs are known Dqting the European world, with two at Colchester Quitand and several new by Guiraudas her Financial 6. It is optional around the original and due to it's very similar, would have been crushed by a fixed woman.

Henig50;9 and 14 suggests that polygonal Dtaing his Type IX are a Dting type. Wire rings Wire rings with spiral or mediebal bezels are known from the Roman world, with two at Colchester Crummyand and several illustrated by Guiraudas her Gings 6. These are also found in the early Anglo-Saxon period, particularly in the 7th century AD. Spiral and snake rings The late Iron Age spiral finger-ring continues into the early Roman eings, with one being found in rlngs late first- or early second-century deposit at Colchester Crummyno. They are not particularly common.

It may be impossible to distinguish unstratified simple spiral finger-rings from the Bronze Age, Iron Age or Roman periods. Johns has constructed a typology of snake rings, based on the over 40 examples in the Snettisham hoard Johns This hoard appears to have been from a single workshop, and the typology may not necessarily have any wider relevance. It is also based on complete rings, with Type A consisting of a single snake, Type B having two snake-head terminals and Type C two or more complete snakes. Most of our snake-rings are incomplete usually terminals only making them difficult to type.

Type Ai is a single snake coiled or spiralled around the finger in a straight line e. Types Biv and Bv correspond to Aii and Ai respectively, but with two snake-heads. Most silver snake-rings on the PAS database consist of terminals only which cannot be typed, and which look very like tadpoles. The technical term for an engraved gem is an intaglio. Rings with engraved bezels whether engraved settings or engraved metal bezels are signet rings.

When describing a signet ring, whether with an engraved gem or an all-metal engraved bezel, make it clear whether you are talking about the ring itself or the impression. Type 1 Guiraud and Type I Henig have tall bezels rising straight from the widest part of the hoop, and most are set with gems. Guiraud dates them to 50 BC to AD, and Henig appears to agree, pointing out that those in Britain may have been antiques when they arrived here The few examples Dating medieval rings the PAS database appear to all be set with glass or enamel.

Type 2 Guiraud includes all finger-rings with no clear break between hoop and bezel; Henig divides these into Type II with circular cross-section to hoop and smooth curve into bezeland Type III with flatter cross-section to loop and slight angle between hoop and bezel. Guiraud dates Type 3 rings to the end of the 2nd and first three-quarters of the 3rd centuryDating medieval rings Henig dates Type VIII to the 3rd century Type 4d has embellished shoulders which can lead it look a little like Type 3. As the rings of Type 4 are various, so are the dates. Type IV Henig is confined to those with pellets at the shoulder; Henig points out that although pellets tend to be thought of as a late Roman fashion and can be found on high-status early-medieval rings too they can occasionally date as early as the first century AD.

Guiraud Type 4 rings: Johns, and most recently Gerrard and Henigalso discuss these rings and date them to the late fourth and fifth centuries. They usually have engraved decoration which can include Christian iconography. Small and large Brancaster-type rings: Adam Daubney began work on a typology of these some years ago, and it would be well worth attempting this again. Until then, here are some interesting examples. Enamelled Roman finger-rings: Rings set with coins exist, but are not common on the PAS database. Early-medieval finger-rings Early Anglo-Saxon finger-rings Finger-rings are not particularly common in early Anglo-Saxon graves.

The most common type is made from a flat strip, usually of silver, spiralling around the finger. The early Anglo-Saxon examples are perhaps flatter and thinner than similar prehistoric or Roman spiral rings. Another type which is found in early Anglo-Saxon graves is the wire ring with a tight spiral knot at the bezel, again normally in silver e. It should be noted though that there is also evidence for this type of ring in the Roman world see above, and WILT-9D for references. Both of these types are fragile, and rarely survive in the ploughsoil.

Middle and late Anglo-Saxon finger-rings Recognisable middle and late Anglo-Saxon finger-rings often have wide flat oval or lozenge-shaped bezels. They are normally dated by their art styles, so look out for Mercian-style or Trewhiddle-style animals, and panels divided by lines of ladder pattern e. It is likely that some wide bezels with ring-and-dot ornament are middle to late Anglo-Saxon e. The simplest form is a penannular hoop with tapering ends, usually made from a lozenge-shaped or circular-section copper-alloy rod.

It seems possible that a few examples may have been decorated e. They often do not look as if they would have been comfortable on the finger. There are excavated parallels from Thetford Rogerson and Dallasfig. Viking-age penannular finger-rings with tapered terminals SFFSFDB52 and NMS-E26C94 A more distinctive type is made from two pieces of thick wire twisted together, often in this case with the ends hammered together to form a circular hoop. These can be more ornate and some are made from silver or gold e. This type can have punched decoration. During this period rings could be worn on upper joints of the finger, so can be quite small.

There is a good section on the marking of rings in Oman chapter 2which explains why so few are hallmarked. Treasure cases are dealt with by Judy Rudoe at the BM, who is a mine of information and has an extremely good reference collection.

Type 2 Guiraud delves all finger-rings with no decent break between investment and bezel; Henig finishes medueval into Python II with identifiable seasonal-section to register and smooth savvy into accountand Opening III with bed cross-section to loop and just angle between hedge and alerting. Strengths were extremely rare in literary England and were limited for other and sometimes-ranking nobility and development.

If msdieval ring is stirrup-shaped, add this in the sub-classification field. Medieval and post-medieval gem-set finger-rings Medieval gems are polished Datiny than cut, and so the ring sometimes medeival to accommodate an unevenly shaped gem. They date from the end of the 12th century onwards and are contemporary with similar rings with simple gem-set bezels. These can Datnig the stone ribgs in a collar, or can occasionally use claws. The stirrup shape can be combined with medievwl collar, or with claws. Post-medieval gem-set rings can be hard to identify due to the few lower-status examples yet known. These date to the 15th or early 16th centuries. Later 16th century signet rings can have two initials and an openwork knot.

The ring itself is ornate on the outside and inscribed on the inside. The ring is dated at and is from England although the inscription was not added until the 14th century. Rings have long been associated with marriage although many rings were purely ornamental. Ring bands could be thin or wider as the wearer desired. The plain wedding ring can be seen as early as the 11th century, where it was usually worn on the third finger of the left hand. During the 16th century, this changed to the opposite hand. There seems to be no set protocol during the middle ages as to the width of a ring or whether it was for a man or a woman specifically.

Inthe Goldsmith's Company specified that only natural stones were to be set in gold and that fake stones were not. Real stones were also not to be set into base metals, and real stones must not be set with a tine backing to improve their colour. There were no limitations at that time as to how many rings could worn at one time.

Medieval rings Dating

The ring shown at left is of typical medieval style and dates from England in the 14th century. It has a gold ring with garnet. More elaborate claw settings were known and worn by the wealthy, but the bulk of rings from medieval finds reflect this style. The wider rings were more likely to have inscriptions on the outside or alternatively on the inside of the band. Rings were often inscribed with amorous mottos of love, hearts, or images of saints and animals. They might be worn singly or as a part of a set. The ring at right is a French finger ring from the 's currently in the Museum of London. It is engraved on the outside and has a gemstone set in a claw setting. The stones set into rings often had special significance or were worn for their properties of protection.

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