Reviews Gems & Gemology, Winter 2015, Vol. 51, No. 4

Book Review: Towards an Art History of Medieval Rings: A Private Collection

By Sandra Hindman, with Ilaria Fatone and Angelique Laurent-di Mantova. Introduction by Diana Scarisbrick, hardcover, illus., 260 pp., publ. by Paul Holberton Publishing, London, 2015, £35.00.

The 35 rings in this private collection belong to Sandra Hindman, owner of Les Enluminures, a gallery of artworks from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance with locations in Paris, Chicago, and New York. The book is the accompanying catalog to recent exhibitions at Les Enluminures.
It is one of the few modern volumes on the topic of medieval rings. Beautifully printed and illustrated, it is a scholarly overview of the design and use of medieval rings ranging from the Early Byzantine period through the Renaissance.
The book is divided into individual chapters: Byzantine & Early Christian, Early Medieval, Gothic, and Renaissance. Each chapter gives a brief overview of the period and the drivers that influenced the creation of these rarities. The contents have been arranged chronologically so as to compare and contrast the styles between and within each period. In addition to multiple images of each ring, there are comparative photos of rings and objects in other collections. The book also presents the catalogue entry for each of the rings, featuring their description and technical details on construction and condition.
Towards an Art History of Medieval Rings is an exceptionally crafted and well-organized book for anyone interested in this rare topic. 

Peter Jon Shemonsky, based in San Francisco, has worked with antique and estate jewelry for the past 30 years through various auction houses around the world. He is a longstanding member of the North American Society of Jewelry Historians.