18th Century Portuguese Rock Crystal Ring
Portuguese rock crystal navette ring, circa 1780. The tapering gold shank supports a head densely pavé-set with natural rock crystal [colourless quartz] within a typically Portuguese gold bead surround. The late 18th century saw the apogee of Portuguese jewellery design as the influx of stones from their Brazilian mines allowed jewellers to experiment with close setting of gems and sumptuous designs. The ring is size O and 1/2 [US 7 and 1/4] and can be sized and the head of the ring measures 1 and 1/4 inches by 3/4 of an inch. In immaculate condition, with the wonderful depth of refraction of natural rock crystal. For similar examples see the National Museum of Archaeology, Lisbon, Portuguese convent jewellery collection. These jewels were handed down in families and brought into convents as the dowries of nuns.