“Stuart crystal” is a style of jewelry which originated as a form of mourning (or protest) jewelry after the execution of King Charles I of the House of Stuart in 1649. The first Stuart crystal jewels were pendants or rings that featured the initials of the slain king, or a portrait miniature of HRH, set beneath a distinctive-looking faceted rock crystal with a large table (ergo, “Stuart crystal”). Later variations included cufflinks, buttons, earrings, and slides, in addition to the original pendants and rings. These 18th century versions were mounted in gold and featured a fine hairwork background with a gold wire border and cipher or other image such as a skeleton or cherub. Stuart crystals might include the initials of the owner, a loved one, or the deceased. This Stuart crystal ring features a gold wire “AB” cipher on a ground of hair flanked by two old mine cut diamonds in rub-over settings. The gems are all set in silver atop an 18k gold mounting. The reverse of the head features the fine fluting characteristic of the period. This piece is in outstanding antique condition, but that said, it is very very old and should be worn with care and removed before showering, washing your hands, swimming, etc.
18k gold (tests), silver, 6 x 6.9mm rock crystal, 2 x approximately 2.8mm old mine cut diamonds, gold wire cipher, hair
US 8.5, can be resized for an additional fee of $90; 1.7mm hoop
1603 — 1714
These jewels were worn discreetly to show one’s support for the beheaded monarch Charles I.