Carved Emerald, Pearl & Enamel Gold Ring
Ring size: L (British), 6 (US), 12 (Japanese), 53 (French), 13 (Swiss), 16.5 (German); weight: 11g
This unusual gold ring has a large bezel that comprises a single large pale-green emerald carved with cross-hatching to emulate the central part of a flower and with petal motifs around the sides, set amid leafy goldwork that incorporates eight well-matched pearls set as if they are further petals.
The shoulders of the hoop are formed as leafy flourished overlaid with green, dark blue and white enamel. The interior of the hoop about the bezel and shoulder are similarly engraved and enamelled.
The Mughal emperors and other Indian princely families had a genuine passion for precious stones and pearls. And among the stones most prized were emeralds, particularly carved emeralds.
Emeralds were credited with therapeutic and talismanic properties, and most particularly they were believed to counteract the effects of poison – poisoning was a common means of vanquishing one’s enemies in court intrigues. Emeralds sourced from Spanish colonial mines in Colombia were imported to India from the end of the sixteenth century. Portuguese merchants operating from Goa and who traded with Spanish suppliers were an important source of emeralds for Mughal India. Many were engraved in workshops in Jaipur or Gujarat with floral and leafy motifs.
This ring is in a fine condition. It is stable, wearable, and without repairs. The gold content is likely to be 18-20 carats. There are no maker’s or assay marks.
Okada, A., L’Inde des Prices: La Donation Jean et Krishna Riboud, Tresors du Musee Guimet, 2000.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 1998