Tuesday, February 10, 2015

On This Day...

Normally, nobody gives much thought to the few days leading up to Valentine's Day.  It's simply the time when the rush of last-minute shopping takes place.  However, today - February 11 - has some pretty interesting historical factoids of its own.

On this day in 1531, King Henry VIII of England was recognized as the supreme head of the Church of England.  King Henry VIII was a Tudor and the second of the famous dynasty that ruled for 118 years.  His father, Henry VII, was most famous for ending the War of the Roses between the Houses of Lancaster and York.  During the Tudor dynasty, England became one of the leading European colonial powers and was instrumental in the cultural Renaissance.


Henry at approx. age 40. by Joos van Cleeve.
From the Royal Collection.

However, Henry VIII is probably one of the most notable (notorious?) figures of the time period.  Notorious for his string of wives and notable for his break from the Roman Catholic Church.  But like all monarchs of the time, Henry and the Tudors had some pretty fabulous bling!


The Family of Henry VIII - c. 1545, Painted by an unknown artist. Oil on canvas.
From the Royal Collection on Display at Hampton Court Palace.
Left to Right: 'Mother Jak', The Lady Mary, Prince Edward, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, The Lady Elizabeth & Wil Somers.

And, jewelry that has some history to it is the best kind!  So although historians disagree on what happened to all the Tudor jewelry (some even say that Oliver Cromwell stole it!); there are still some pretty amazing examples available out there so that you too can own a bit of history from the period!  Just take a look at these stunning rings brought to you courtesy of our friends at The Three Graces!


This amazing Tudor Garnet Ring, 16th Century, is from The Three Grace, $9,350.
More than 500 years have passed since this ring was conceived, designed & fabricated. It is made of 22k yellow gold in
the classic Tudor style of simplified surfaces & curves with a characteristic quatrefoil box bezel, circa 1580.
- ©  Photos & description courtesy of The Three Graces.










Talk about having history on your finger!  This Early Table Cut Diamond Ring from The Three Graces is something to behold, $8,450!
Dating from the mid- to later 16th Century, this treasure is outstanding in its design simplicity & high yellow gold content of 22k or more. The centered table cut diamond is set close backed with that characteristic gold cup. All around the base & four sides of the diamond the gold has been thinly burnished up covering all sides. This ring is hand-engraved in Lombardic lettering with the Latin phrase "runt duo m carne una" – loosely translated as “they shall unite as one”, or they two shall become one flesh. Runt = they, duo = two, carne = flesh and una= one. Exceptionally scarce, the overall form is reminiscent of the simplicity of design in the 13th -15th centuries. Yet the use of a table cut & Lombardic script place this in the 1500's. 

©  Photos & description courtesy of The Three Graces.


Isn't this 16th Century Ruby Ring from The Three Graces just perfect, $9,565!
Made of high carat gold of about 22k or a bit less, this ring dates anywhere from the mid- to later 16th Century (although it can be a bit earlier). It totes the more classic style of the Tudor Dynasty with the 16th century hallmark characteristics of simplified curves & surfaces & four cusps holding the centered natural ruby. The gem is polished in just six surfaces – the bottom, four peaks & a roof or flat slightly buffed top surface. Decorative rings of this era are typically delicate & quite petite in size yet this one has a lovely small but substantial overall feel. This piece is exceptionally scarce, circa 1500-1550. 

©  Photos & description courtesy of The Three Graces.

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