Armillary Sphere Ring
From a private collection, a rare gold ring, circa 1780, of interlocking hinged hoops which unfold into a miniature armillary sphere, with a crystal covered bezel containing a lock of hair. The interlocking hoops are concealed when the ring is closed. Armillary spheres were used to show the movement of the planets around the sun, but the ring would not have been usable as such. It might therefore have been worn by an astrologer as a sign of his interest in the heavens and since the pivoting design is a challenge to the skills of the goldsmith it may have been made to demonstrate those skills. The ring is size N [US 6 and 1/2]. For other examples of armillary sphere rings, see Plate 96A in Oman’s British Rings and Plate 193 in Scarisbrick’s Historic Rings.