Signet rings were first used as early as ancient times, but became especially popular in Medieval Europe, where they typically bore a family crest or coat of arms, and were used to stamp or ‘sign’ a document. The engraved portion of the ring would be pressed into soft wax or clay, leaving an impression that would identify the owner. The wax or clay seal would then be attached to a document to confirm its authenticity. The social status of the owner was reflected in the size and media of such seal rings, with the combination of motifs engraved on the bezel providing further insight into the owner’s identity, such as their place in a family. The lily was one of the most common motifs in medieval heraldry, associated with purity and the Virgin Mary.
Medieval Bronze and Glass Signet Ring
A fine late medieval bronze signet ring featuring an oval bezel with an inset clear glass intaglio. The glass is engraved with a coat of arms comprised of an oval body from which extend two curving flourishes. From the top rises a stylised lily, shown in profile, flanked by two stars. The bezel is surrounded by an incised oval, under which a row of short incised vertical lines on the long sides of the bezel. The bronze ring was coated in a modern varnish. UK ring size: R.
Provenance: Formerly in the collection of a gentleman from Essex, UK.
Condition: Very fine; suitable for modern wear with care.
|Dimensions||W 2.1 cm|