Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mastery of Design: A Magnificent “Cat’s Eye” and Diamond Ring, 1850

The Victoria & Albert Museum
Made in London in 1850, this curious ring is set with an impressive chrysoberyl (Cat's Eye) with a border of brilliant-cut diamonds in a gold setting. The stone is so large that it is set on double shoulders—one set to support the weight of the stone and one set to fit the finger, though it’s doubtful that the ring was ever worn.
This ring is part of a collection of 154 gems bequeathed to the V&A by the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend, a cleric and poet. We’ve looked at the Reverend Townsend’s rings before and they are certainly quite a magnificent collection. Townsend collected an assortment of extraordinary stones which he had mounted as rings. However, they were never intended to be worn. The settings served only to showcase the stones.

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