History of the ring
The ring is a jewel that has gone through all ages: from Prehistory to the present day, it has found its place in all civilizations. In iron or gold, simple ornament or social value, the ring has evolved over centuries and millennia.
The earliest rings discovered to date are about 21,000 years old. Several examples have been discovered in Pavlov in the Czech Republic: these are fine rings made of mammoth ivory. They seemed to serve as ornament but also money of exchange.
A little later, rings of the Hittite civilization, established in Anatolia, were also discovered: among them were the first signet rings.
In the Paleolithic already, the rings had a role of individual and collective identification.
It is in the Bronze Age that appears the first rings in gold. The precious metal was notably used by the Egyptians: the highest personalities in society wore very elaborate Natural Sapphire Rings. The wearing of the ring therefore had a social function but also served as a signature: it was used for example as a stamp to authenticate a message or seal merchandise.
A superb example of a seal ring is the massive gold ring of General Horemheb, who became King of Egypt in 1340 BC. The rectangular swivel kitten is decorated on all four sides with a deeply engraved decoration. Thus, a crocodile, a scorpion and a lion alongside the coronation name of King Horemheb, last ruler of the XVIIIth dynasty. One of the most famous rings of ancient Egypt is the ring horses of Ramses II. He would have ordered it after being saved by his mares at the Battle of Qadesh.
The rings of ancient Greece seem to be strongly inspired by those of ancient Egypt. They are however less imposing: in fact, gold being rare in the Mediterranean basin at the time, we mainly used silver or bronze. At the same time, in the 6th century BC, appeared the first rings mounted with a stone.
In the Greeks, the ring was called “Dactuolioi”, which meant “finger ornament”. Later, the Romans designated the ring by the term “Unguli”, referring to the wearing of the ring on the first phalanx. If, at the beginning, one wore only one ring, the wearing of several rings on each finger spread, meaning belonging to a high social class.
At the time of the Romans, the history of the ring reflects more and more transformations of society. The rings signify social belonging according to the metal used (gold or simple iron). Over the centuries, the iron ring has become the sign of servitude and the golden ring that of freedom.
There were also rings in silver, amber or ivory. Both Greeks and Romans liked to enrich them with stones engraved with various emblems that also served as a seal.
The Middle Age
It is difficult to obtain accurate information on loose diamonds wholesale rings dating from the Middle Ages. Few copies survived looting and the destruction of time. Only literature and written texts give an idea of the style of rings that were worn at the time.
There are, on the one hand, simple rings, without a kitten and without ornament, if not sometimes a foliage. They are made of copper, bronze, silver or gold. On the other hand, rings with a kitten derive their value from the gems that adorn them, considered as talismans to which magical virtues were attributed.
The progress of jewelry technology, the mastery of metal working, the discovery of new stones, the appearance of cultured pearls allow today an extremely rich and diversified creativity, unthinkable until then. A simple social marker, the jewel becomes a pleasure and a source of creative expression reflecting the times: the Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Orientalism are among the richest jewelry expressions that have marked the history of the jewel. International openness, the liberalization of tastes and social constraints, the influence of fashion are changing styles at a rapid pace. Today, the trend towards fine and discreet jewelry, personalization and even interchangeability is significant, reflecting a modern free and creative society. In this spirit, the made-to-measure has become much more accessible and is no longer synonymous with high prices.