This fine example is known as stirrup ring, named by Victorian collectors during the 19th century because of its similarity to the shape of a horse’s stirrup. However, such shape might have been a visual representation of Gothic arches, popular architectonical element widespread across Medieval Europe. Stirrup rings have been recovered in Europe from the 12th century until the 14th century, and they were particularly fashionable across bishops, abbots, priors and other member of the clergy, worn on the middle finger of the right hand, sometimes over a glove. Such rings were modelled in silver, gold and bronze and usually featured a relatively simple design with a single stone set within the bezel. The Medieval Period saw many different epidemics and plagues, such as the Black Death, for which no medical cure was available. The magical and mystical properties attached to stones set in rings became of great importance to the people wearing them. Rubies especially was believed to protect the wearer from temptations, hence it was favoured by bishops.
Medieval Stirrup Silver Ring with Ruby
An elegant Medieval silver finger ring, featuring an oval loop and a pyramid-shaped bezel, set with a red cabochon ruby. The internal part displays the remainign of the gilding. The shape of the ring is known as stirrup ring. UK ring size R.
Provenance: Ex. Faustus Gallery, Jermyn Street
Condition: Fine, the ring has been resized. The ring is suitable for modern wear with care.