Monday, July 16, 2012

Elizabeth I's Ring

Around 1575 Elizabeth I had this ring created by her personal jeweler.  It is solid gold, covered with mother of pearl and encrusted with precious jewels. A hidden clasp opens the locket ring to reveal a portrait of Anne Boleyn on one side and Elizabeth herself on the other.





The ring could have had many meanings. It could have served to remind Elizabeth that one wrong step in royal politics could cost your life or it may mean that Elizabeth thought about her mother much more than she ever let on. Whatever the meaning behind the ring, it is beautiful and thought provoking. The ring was given to the Home family by King James I, the family donated it to the Trustees of Chequers house, the country residence of the Prime Minister. It was recently on display at the Greenwich Museum, which was its first public display. What do you think readers?



11 comments:

  1. It is beautiful. The portraits seem crude, are they paintings?

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  2. Hey there! The portrait miniatures are actually not paintings they are enamels, which we can see from their three dimensional appearance.

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  3. Why would the ring have been given away?

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  4. This is so cool. I wish there was more of Elizabeth's wardrobe and other items to be seen.

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  5. Hello Sarah! Forgive my long delay in responding to your question. The ring would have been given as a sign of favoritism. The royals often gave away expensive jewels as a way of expressing gratitude for fealty. We can also assume that James would not have had much attachment to the ring as Elizabeth was basically unknown to him.

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  6. Anonymous,
    There are many pieces of Elizabeth's jewelry that can be viewed at Westminster Abbey as part of the Crown Jewel display if you want to make the trip. You can also google her Pelican Cup necklace, which is another of my favorites of her pieces.

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  7. I looked at THE PELICAN CUP necklace, and it looks more like a GRIFFIN. The beak is not a pelican beak. This is from Wikipedia(note that many believe Elizabeth married Dudley in secret years earlier):

    Griffins not only mated for life, but also, if either partner died, then the other would continue throughout the rest of its life alone, never to search for a new mate.
    In heraldry, the griffin's amalgamation of lion and eagle gains in courage and boldness, and it is always drawn to powerful fierce monsters. It is used to denote strength and military courage and leadership. Griffins are portrayed with rear body of a lion, an eagle's head, with erect ears, and feathered breast, with forelegs of an eagle, including claws. The combination indicates a combination of intelligence and strength.
    In British heraldry, a male griffin is shown without wings, its body covered in tufts of formidable spikes, with a short tusk emerging from the forehead, as for a unicorn. The female griffin with wings is more commonly used.

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  8. What an interesting observation! I'd never considered that the necklace did not depict a pelican. If the necklace was indeed created to be representative of her relationship with Dudley that would be a fascinating discovery. I am definitely going to look more closely at the necklace and see if I can find more information on it production date as well as who created it. Stay tuned!

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