The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

When quartz forms as a mass of microscopically small crystals it is known as ‘microcrystalline quartz’ or ‘cryptocrystalline quartz’. This family includes all varieties of chalcedony such as agate, carnelian and sard. Opaque, granular microcrystalline quartz is known as jasper. Chalcedonies and jaspers occur in a huge variety of colours, created by small amounts of impurities such as iron, manganese and chrome.Chalcedony includes all agates, cornelian and chrysoprase. Pure chalcedony is a translucent grey or white, whilst agates, cornelian and chrysoprase display a variety of subtle colours and patterns. Chalcedony is extremely tough and is an excellent material for carving. In this gem, the figure of the Greek god Zeus has been engraved into the surface, as an intaglio.
This ring forms part of a collection of 154 gems bequeathed to the V&A by the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend, a cleric and poet. Sir A. H. Church gave additional specimens in 1913. He also compiled the first catalogue Precious Stones: A Guide to the Townshend Collection. The first edition appeared in 1883. The stones are mounted as rings, although they may not have been intended to be worn.

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  • Title: Ring
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1800/1869
  • Location: Europe
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 0.5 in, Width: 0.416 in
  • Provenance: Bequeathed by the Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend
  • Medium: Chalcedony intaglio, set in gold

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