The Indomitable

Medieval Gold Ring With Diamond, England, c. 1420

Adamant, the indomitable - under this name was known in ancient times and the Middle Ages the hardest of all natural minerals, the diamond. In addition to its ability to scratch all other materials, it was said to be able to withstand fire and even the blows of a hammer. And so it is not surprising that since the Middle Ages, the diamond has been considered a symbol of deep and enduring loyalty. The ring here lives up to the adamantine's name, as it itself has now overcome some 600 years unconquered. Made in Britain of high karat gold and a diamond in its natural octahedron shape, the ring was created in the years around 1420. Its ring band is rounded and restrained in design. It ends in two trapezoidal plates which convey to the showpiece of the ring, the diamond in its forged setting. It is box-shaped and tapers towards the bottom. The shape of the setting has given this type of ring the name "pie dish" or "tart mold" ring in Britain, after the characteristic outline of a pie shape. Rings of this type appear from the 12th to the 15th century. The type of ring head changes only slowly over the centuries. The showpiece, as can be studied on the preserved rings of that time in the British Museum, becomes increasingly higher and more sculptural and grows out of the ring band until the sides finally offer enough space to be decorated with enamel and ornaments [1]. The diamond in this ring still follows the natural shape of the crystal. However, the four visible facets are polished smooth with the aid of diamond dust, which is a considerable technical leap from the skills of the gem cutters of antiquity and the early Middle Ages. The cut is called "point cut" in English. This technique was developed in Europe in the second half of the 14th century and stones cut in this way were common throughout the continent by the early 15th century at the latest. The first table cuts, which actually add new facets to the stone, then became common in the later part of the 15th century [2]. Considered together, the technique and shape of the ring head and cut argue for an origin of the ring in the first decades of the 15th century. We discovered the ring in Great Britain. It is a precious and distinctly rare collector's item that would also enhance any museum's collection of jewellery history. A wearable diamond ring of the early 15th century. Evidence [1] On the form of the "pie dish" ring, see Sandra Hindman et al: Cycles of Life: Rings from the Benjamin Zucker Family Collection, London 2014, pp. 150f, also Anna Beatriz Chadour / Rüdiger Joppien: Jewellery II. Finger Rings (= Kataloge des Kunstgewerbemuseums Köln, vol. 10), Cologne 1985, p. 127, p. 131. 2] On the development of the diamond cut, cf. with examples the wonderful book by Jack Ogden: Diamonds. An Early History of the King of Gems, New Haven/London 2018, pp. 79-99, p. 132f, and Diana Scarisbrick: Rings. Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty", London 2007, 299-311.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

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.