Medieval stirrup ring
A solid and substantial 15th century stirrup hoop ring with its original cabochon sapphire. The term ‘Stirrup’ is a misnomer used by nineteenth century antiquarians to describe the shape of this type of ring. It was believed they followed forms found in medieval and particularly Norman architecture. In the medieval world rings were not just an indicator of taste, status and wealth. Finger rings were often set with gems which were ascribed magical properties. This high carat gold ring is set with a cabochon sapphire. Oman in British Rings refers to ‘virtuous gem stones’, the ‘virtue’ consisting of the magical or medicinal powers accredited to different gems. The sapphire having the colour of the heavens, comforted the heart, expelled envy and detected fraud and witchcraft. The ring is inscribed with a Latin motto on the outer hoop : Ante utc dic urm which curiously which translates as : before that say the following. The ring is size S [US 9 and 1/8] and in very fine and wearable condition.