Medieval Iconographic ring with St George. A yellow gold ring, fitted to centre with a curved rectangular bezel intricately engraved with a representation of St George dressed in plate armour, holding a shield bearing a cross design and plunging a spear into the open mouth of a dragon below, flanked to either side with radiating incised borders, the broad trumpeting shoulders lead to a solid D-shapeshank. Tested yellow gold, approximately 8.1g in weight, circa 15th century, accompanied by Oxford Lab X-ray fluorescence report stating the composition of the metal.
This is an exceptional museum quality example of a Medieval finger ring and is in very fine condition.
Saint George the patron saint of England - a figure about which remarkably little is known. Reputed to have been a Roman soldier, it is believed that on the 23rd of April 303 AD, Saint George was beheaded by the Emperor Diocletian for protesting against the persecution of Christians. He soon became venerated across Europe as a defender of the Christian faith.
Whilst it is unlikely that Saint George ever visited England, his popularity in this country can be traced back to the early-eighth century. During the Middle Ages, Saint George was upheld as an ideal of martial valour and chivalry, and consequently he was adopted by the Crusaders as a patron saint. By the end of the fourteenth century, he was officially acknowledged as Patron Saint of England and his banner (a red cross on a white background) continues to serve as our national flag.
The most famous tale involving Saint George was popularized by the Golden Legend, a thirteenth century text, which describes his legendary triumph over a plague-bearing dragon who was terrorising the inhabitants of a Libyan city. Each day the citizens would hold a lottery to decide which one of their children would be led out to the lake to be fed to the dragon in order to appease him. Eventually the lot fell to the King’s daughter, however as she was awaiting her fate Saint George journeyed past the lake and rescued her from the creature. He then slayed the dragon, and in return the King and fifteen thousand of his men converted to Christianity. George’s triumph over the dragon continues to serve as a symbol of the Order of the Garter, an English chivalric order that was founded by Edward III in 1348.
The majority of items can be re-sized free of charge.
The history of signet or seal rings is lengthy and illustrious, dating back to 1400 BC when they were first worn by the Mesopotamian and ancient Egyptian civilisations. Throughout history, signet rings were often decorative and beautiful, however they were also highly functional items which played an important administrative role within society. By pressing the signet ring into hot wax or soft clay, a distinctive impression would be left that then functioned as an official seal or ‘signature’.
In ancient Egypt, pharaohs and nobles used distinctive signet rings made of hardstone or a blue pottery called faience. Such rings were flat on one side, with an ornately inscribed design incorporating symbols and hieroglyphic text.
In the Middle Ages, signet rings were used by wealthy, powerful individuals to sign and seal their letters, proving that they were indeed authentic documents whilst preventing forgeries and tampering.
Thanks to a growing merchant class, signet rings became a form of branding during the Renaissance. As European merchants took to the Silk Road and began transporting goods overseas, they used signet rings to stamp seals on their shipments, making it easier to identify goods on arrival.
By the Victorian era and continuing through to today, signet rings have become a staple of the well-dressed gentlemen.
We are privileged to be able to offer an outstanding collection of these very special and rare rings which can be prized, appreciated and worn today.