French, circa 1600, finger ring. Photo courtesy Sotheby's 

the reverse of the bezel inscribed with the Jesuit symbol: IHS with a cross and two nails; enamelled gold, with a circular bezel set with rock crystal above a scene of the crucifixion in gold - bezel: 16mm., 5/8 in - ring size U. Estimation 4,000 — 6,000 GBP

The present ring finds a comparison in another gold ring with black enamelling and with a bezel set with rock crystal atop a scene of the crucifixion in the British Museum, London (inv. no. 1978,1002.105). This ring is catalogued as French, circa 1600, but is of noticeably lesser quality than the present very fine example. Another ring fitting the same description is mentioned by Dalton in his catalogue of the Franks Bequest (op. cit., p. 120, no. 779). The black enamel decoration finds comparisons in numerous late 16th- and early 17th-century rings, including on a gold and rock crystal signet ring sold at Christie's London on 9 October 2012, lot 385.

RELATED LITERATURE: O. M. Dalton, Catalogue of the Finger Rings in the Franks Bequest, London, 1912, p. 120, no. 779

Sotheby's. European Sculpture & Works of Art. London | 04 déc. 2013, 11:00 AM -www.sothebys.com