Amethystmemorial ring for the Right Honourable George Grenville (British Prime Minister, 1763-1765), English, circa 1770. A yellow gold ring set with one central oval cushion shape old cut amethyst in a closed backcutdown setting with an approximate weight of 5.00 carats, on a half round shank, the exterior reading ‘RT HON GEO: GRENVILLE. OB:13. NOV:1770. AET 58. OB’ in gold on a black enamel ground flanked by millegrain edging.
George Grenville (14 October 1712 – 13 November 1770) was a prominent British Whig statesman during the reign of George III. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford University, he led a distinguished political career, which included holding the positions of Treasurer of the Navy, Leader of the Commons, Northern Secretary, First Lord of the Admiralty, and ultimately, Prime Minister. He is perhaps best known for the Stamp Act of 1765 on the American colonies which, due to major opposition there, played a part in provoking the revolution. He was one of five brothers, all of whom became MPs, as did his sons, George and William.
Due to the large size and quality of the ring it may well have been commissioned as commemorative piece to be worn by his son, William Grenville, who also went on to serve as Prime Minister from 1806 to 1807.
Rings are one of the most powerful and evocative pieces of jewellery. In its most rudimentary form, a ring is a simple band, composed of any material from bone, wood, glass to precious metal, which encircles the finger.
Rings are worn not just for personal adornment and displaying wealth and status, but also for a number of symbolic reasons including a statement of love, religious and superstitious belief, providing proof of identity and also marking births and deaths.
Finger rings trace their origin back the ancient world and each civilisation created specific styles which incorporated motifs and designs particular to their cultural identity. For example the ancient Egyptians wore signet rings often in the form of a scarab beetle or the sun which were motifs important to their society; also rough gemstones such as rock crystal and amethyst were carved and pierced through with gold wire and rotated around a hoop.
Rings are often seen as a symbol of love, with the never-ending circle denoting the infinity of sentiment. This concept was first invented by the ancient Greeks; it was however during the Roman period, that rings were formally introduced as part of the marriage ceremony.
Berganza’s collection of ancient, antique and vintage rings encompass a profusion of varied designs, from complicated ornate rings through to simple dainty rings, every single one unique and hand crafted.