Long live the king

So-called. Stuart Crystal ring from England in gold and silver, early 18th century.

The history of Great Britain is full of big and small moments full of drama. One particularly stirring period was the struggle of the Scottish House of Stuart for the British crown - and like so many events in high politics, this also had a direct impact on jewellery. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, the Stuart and Tudor families vied for power and the royal throne in Britain. Not only that, but the revolution under Oliver Cromwell further complicated the situation. Heads rolled, blood flowed profusely and the religions fought each other even more. No wonder, then, that the numerous prominent dead of these turmoils were also used as partisans by the survivors. Charles I, who had been beheaded by the furious revolutionaries in London in 1649, was particularly popular with the Catholic Scots. His followers soon carried rings bearing the portrait or a lock of hair from the dead man's head to express their loyalty to his family. This idea was new - and all at once a whole new type of jewelry emerged: The memorial ring. Rings with a rock crystal behind which an artfully arranged lock of hair is kept are called "Stuart Crystal" in Great Britain after their first appearance. In later times, pieces commemorating other individuals also emerged. Especially in the late 18th century this fashion was widespread in all circles of the population and besides hair also small paintings etc. were kept in rings. Lastly, our present medallion also derives from this tradition. The ring presented here is a particularly fine example of this fashion. Forged of gold, the ring head sets in silver five faceted rock crystals, behind the largest of which is a hair braid covered with gold wire. Whether it was made by Charles I we dare not say. But the form and workmanship of the ring allow us to date it securely to the early 18th century. It is in first-class condition. For the history of the Stuart Crystal see also Diana Scarisbrick: Rings. Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty, London 2007, pp. 188-190, with illustrations.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.