Thursday, February 19, 2009

Here is an excellent example of a Middle Ages diamond ring. Just found in mid-2008 in a freshly plowed field in England--what a find. The new owner saw it in the dirt. To imagine that this diamond came from Africa to England, perhaps as early as the 1400's, and was then crafted for a very rich and important person then was lost to the dirt for 100's of years baffles my mind. I have been trying to track if it has been sold but I can't find any mention-it must be worth--geez who knows?

During the Middle Ages most betrothal rings (what we consider a wedding ring today) were made of colored gem stones such as rubies and sapphires. Their rich deep colors were prized. However it is in the late middle ages that diamond rings begin to appear. The first known recorded account of a diamond betrothal ring is from 1477 which was presented by Archduke Maximilian of Austria to his love Mary of Burgundy. Early on these diamonds would not be the near white diamonds we think of today- they would be dark, almost black and in a very authentic form -octahedral state- as is the ring above.

Here is another later example of a Middle Ages diamond ring around 15-16th century. Note the diamond is becoming whiter but is still in a very natural state.

As time progressed the diamond began to have the top cut off to create a table cut and were typically set in silver. This type of cutting can be seen from the 16th century up to the early 17th century.
Whew...that's enough diamond cuts tonight... more to follow. I hope this weekend when I am out auctioning there might be a buried Middle Ages diamond ring-hey a girl has to dream.

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