In the Middle Ages throughout Western Europe rings with gemstones were most popular. Because of its shape and resemblance to pie dishes, the type has either been described as a "pie-dish" setting or even "tart mold" ring. An early example of such a ring is the one which once belonged to Bishop Ranulf Flambard, who died in 1128. It was found in his tomb in Durham Cathedral. Other early examples are those from the Lark Hill Hoard found near Worcester from 1173-4 (today in the British Museum) The ring type remained popular through to the fourteenth century; the simplicity of the setting, even if slightly varied in ornament, enhanced the cabochon shapes of the gemstones which were favored at the time, and often had a personal meaning for the wearer.  Other examples from treasures and hoards of the 12thcentury Dolphin Inn Hoard, in Cambridge (now Trinity College Library).

This gold ring has a delicate, slightly rounded hoop which supports a rectangular bezel. The underside is flat and the top has a low pyramidal shape set with a cabochon of honey-colored glass, probably imitating amber. The setting suggests that the gemstone may have been replaced some time during its long history, maybe on the wish of a later owner. The gemstone shows signs of age as also the ring itself. The ring is in good wearable condition.


For comparable rings of this type with varying shaped bezels and decoration, see the British Museum (published in Oman 1974, plate 14, A & B); the Nationalmuseum Copenhagen (see Lindahl, 2003, no. 87), the Hanns-Ulrich Haedeke Collection (published in Haedeke 2000, nos. 135); the Hashimoto Collection (published in Scarisbrick 2004, nos. 111, 114, 119); the Alice and Louis Koch Collection (published in Chadour 1994, no. 560); Hindman 2007, no. 17.


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