George Nassau (1756-1823) was an English country gentleman, and the brother of Henry, 5th Earl of Rochford. He was a historian and bibliophile and amassed an extensive library including many manuscripts on his home county Suffolk, with illustrations commissioned by him from leading artists of the time such as Thomas Gainsborough. His will notes that on his death, the following people were to receive mourning rings, valued at six guineas each: Reverend H.I. Berners, Sir William Rowley, John Wright Esq., Reverend William Gibson, Sir William Parker Bt., Sir Francis Hilman, Captain Hopkins, Reverend William Garratt, William Berners Esq., Reverend Dr Kilderlee, Colonel Dupuis, John Phillips Esq., Sir Robert Spencer Kilderlee Esq., James Saicer Esq., James Wenn Esq., Earl Ludlow, George Farrant Esq., John Butler Esq., and Reverend Samuel Jones Knight.
One other of George Nassau's commissioned mourning rings can be seen in the V&A Museum's collection, reference M.168-1962.
The abbreviation 'ARM' stands for the word 'armigerous' which meant that a person was literally a bearer of weapons or armour and thus entitled to use a coat of arms. In more modern terms, it means that you are entitled to call yourself 'Esquire'.
The majority of items can be re-sized free of charge.
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.