Diamond Cluster Ring
This dazzling ring features a centerpiece of seven diamonds set on a gold hoop with ornamental leaf. A large, table-cut diamond is positioned at the center of the cluster, accompanied on either side by lobes of three smaller table-cut diamonds in rounded settings with arcading along the edges. The plain, D-section hoop forks at the shoulders into an ornamental leaf motif supporting the bezel. The outer edges of the ring have been flattened, likely to allow the owner to wear it between two other rings. The ring is in good, wearable condition.
During the seventeenth century, diamonds became increasingly popular and cuts became more intricate to play with light and reflection. Instead of expensive, single diamond settings, cluster rings such as this offered fashionable alternatives with mesmerizing visual effects. Since the fifteenth century, diamonds were valued not only for their rarity and durability but also for their symbolism as betrothal or wedding rings, standing for virtue and constancy and worn by women as well as men.
Similar seven-stone rings with arcaded edges – some with rounded settings, others with square mounts – are found in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Scarisbrick/Henig 2003, pl. 21, no. 2) and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Oman 1930, no. 336). See also exh. cat. Een Eeuw van Schittering 1993, nos. 68 and 71.