ETTORE SOTTSASS Italy
WALTER DE MARIO (maker) Italy
Architecural ring 1964
Signed: ES1, 750, Walter de Mario touch mark
Illustrated: Ettore Sottsass, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1994, p. 65
Exhibited: Ettore Sottsass, Centre Pompidou, Paris, April 27-September 5, 1994; Barbara Radice, Ettore Sottsass: A Critical Biography, New York, 1993 p. 144-145 (for related drawings)
Verdura ring, highly textured 18K gold set with teardrop shaped turquoises and a convex center of pave diamonds, marked
Italian Retro oval “Buckle” ring, 18K gold with a Florentine finish, marked, c. 1940’s
Art Deco cushion shape natural Burmese sapphire ring (approx. 7 carats TW, G.I.A. certificate, 10.00 x 9.70 x 8.00mm, no heat) set in an intricate platinum mount with 4 baguette diamonds and 16 round diamonds (approx. 4 carats), c. 1930
*** This ring is illustrated in the catalogue raisonne “Kevin Coates, A Hidden Alchemy, Goldsmithing: Jewels and Table-Pieces” by Kevin Coates, Elizabeth Goring, Arnoldsche, 2008, No. 287.R.96
Known for his technical brilliance and the symbolic imagery of his work, Kevin Coates is considered by many to be Britain’s leading artist-goldsmith. A true Renaissance Man, Coates is also a musician specializing in the baroque mandolin and has performed in concerts and recitals throughout Europe as well as a mathematician; his PhD thesis was titled, A study of the use of Geometry and Proportional systems in the Art of Lutherie. He focuses on the spiritual meanings of jewelry and draws inspiration from music, theater, painting, literature and mathematics. Neither exclusively modern nor wholly traditional, Coates’ work dazzles us with its technical virtuosity and inspires us with its symbolic imagery. He was an artist in residence at the Wallace Collection in 2011, where he had an exhibition entitled, Time Regained. His most recent exhibition, A Bestiary of Jewels was on view at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford University from January through March, 2014.
These impressive and rare dragon rings have been a feature of all the great ring collections, including the Harari, Guilhou, Spitzer, Franks, and Koch collections. They are known as ‘Naga rings’ because they are thought to represent the naga dragon which is thought to have sheltered the Buddha during a prolonged period of meditation. Chadour suggests that these rings were made for Royalty. The extravagant design certainly re-enforces the idea that they were made for lavish ceremonial use. Another example is in the British Museum.
Diamond solitaire ring, 6.67 carat round “Old European Cut” diamond (GIA certificate, potentially flawless, O-P color) in a very elaborate “Belle Epoque” 18K gold setting by Neil Lane set with numerous small round diamonds, signed
Ettore Sottsass / Cleto Munari ring illustrated in Jewelry By Architects: From the Collection of Cleto Munari by Barbara Radice (Rizzoli, 1988)