Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Townshend Bubble Amethyst, 1820

Amethyst Ring from the Collection of Rev. Townshend
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Another jewel from the important collection of the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend, we see this gorgeous amethyst which was, surprisingly, prized for its inclusions.  Whereas most gems are devalued by the presence of inclusions, this one was made all the more valuable.  This example of purple quartz contains bubbles made during formation by fluid-filled cavities containing gas. The stone is set in a gold swivel setting which allows the gem to be turned and viewed from both sides.  

This ring forms part of a collection of 154 gems bequeathed to the V&A by the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend, a cleric and poet. Like many of the stones in Townshend’s collection, this gem was originally in the collection of 
 H.P. Hope—one time owner of the famed Hope Diamond.  

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