A fabulous gold and cameo ring Elizabeth I gifted to a high ranking naval officer has sold for £45,000 ($58,691) at TimeLine Auctions.
It appears to have been made to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, one of England’s greatest naval victories.
The ring displays a bust of Elizabeth I and a cameo of an unidentified ship
The Spanish fleet, around 130 ships in all, arrived unannounced off the Cornish coast on July 19, 1588. The English navy was alerted via a system of beacons and sailed out to meet the Spaniards from Plymouth harbour.
The weather proved in favour of the English, who successfully launched a fireship attack that scattered the Armada.
Wild storms claimed dozens of ships in the ensuing pursuit around the British coast and the Spanish limped home with a bloody nose.
The exquisitely constructed piece displays a portrait of the queen, while the reverse of the mount shows an image of an unidentified ship. It’s decorated with rubies and lapis lazuli.
Expert David Miller said: “The portrait would judge that the ring dates from about 1585 to 1595.
“I am pretty sure that the portrait is by the artist Nicholas Hilliard as he designed a number of medals including the 1588 naval reward medal which is the first British war medal.”
While we don’t know exactly who received the ring, given its quality they’re likely to have been a key figure in Elizabeth’s court – quite possibly Sir Francis Drake or Sir Walter Raleigh.
Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about watch and jewellery auctions.