An utterly beautiful hand carved and unique sardonyx set into 15 carat gold 156 years ago. I'm going to be bold here and say that they don't really come much better than this.
The intaglio has been carved with the words 'Virtutis Gloria Merces' which translates from Latin to 'Glory is the Reward of Valour' above a dexter hand holding up an imperial crown, all locked in with a buckle at the base. The Dexter, or right hand, is said to represent the right hand of God but occurs in many cultures worldwide. Giving buckle-themed jewellery originated in the Victorian period, where it represented a close relationship between the giver and the receiver. The buckle itself represented a metaphorical connection between the two people. Since this time, buckles have been a popular feature on jewellery of all kinds.
We know that this crest belongs to the Robertson Clan, said to be one of the oldest families in Scotland.
The ring is hallmarked for Birmingham 1866 and we can see by reading into Clan Robertson history, that James Patrick Robertson (1845 - 1909) would have turned 21 in 1866. Was this a birthday gift for him? Did he have it comissioned for himself?
A Jurist and Politician, born in Forteviot, Robertson was educated at the University Edinburgh and was Solicitor General for Scotland, then Lord President. He became Lord Robertson of Forteviot.
Signet rings were often used to show unity to a certain group or to demonstrate status and family connection, a modern display of 'eh, dont mess with me, I know such and such'. The ring holds such provenance in this regard.
I believe, due to wear to the gold on the left shoulder of the ring, that the ring had been worn on the little finger of the right hand, making it easy to seal wax. There is minor evidence of a historic resize to the sides of the band, with the hallmarks preserved.
I won't be resizing this ring but if you wish you can have this done yourself with a goldsmith that is used to working with antiques.
- Material - 15ct gold and sardonyx
- Hallamrks - EL | 15 | 625 | Birmingham | 1866
- Country of origin - England
- Size - UK M / US 6.25
- Length of face - 14mm
- Width of face - 11mm
- Weight - 4.7g
- Condition - wonderful antique condition. The surface of the stone is clean and secure in its setting; there are some nibbles around the outer edge. There is wear to the left shoulder engraving where its been sat alongside the ring finger for many years.
Incredible antique Sardonyx intaglio signet ring
All of my pieces are at the very least pre-loved and most of them are vintage or antique. This item is not brand new and as such, will not look brand new. Please expect signs of wear to include kinks in links, surface wear to gold, scuffs to stones and accept this as part and parcel of buying sustainable jewellery. I will be as clear as I can with item descriptions and aim to make sure you are aware of any potential defects before you buy.