A 18k (750) gold signet ring decorated with fleur-de-lys on a royal blue champlevé enamel background on the outer part of the ring, the inner part engraved with the inscription « C'EST LE SINET DU ROI SAINT-LOUIS », the bezel adorned with a rectangular intaglio on table-cut white sapphire depicting the standing saint, full face, crowned and haloed, holding the scepter and the globe, flanked by the letters S L (Sigillum Ludovici).
France, 19th century, probably circa 1825.
Wear to the enamel.
Finger size: 59. Gross weight: 13.1 g.
- Probably from the Baron Jérôme Pichon collection (1812-1896), one of the most important French collectors of the 19th century.
- Probably his sale, Me Chevallier, Hôtel Drouot, room 7, 24 April-1st May 1897, Rings, lot 44.
- Private collection, France.
Sale Hôtel Drouot, « Collections of the late Baron Jérôme Pichon, antiques, Middle Ages, Renaissance », Me Chavellier, Paris, April 24-May 1, 1897, lot 44, p. 11, a ring totally matching to ours, described as:
"Fac-similé de la bague-cachet de Louis IX, du Trésor de Saint-Denis (Musée du Louvre). L'anneau, en or émaillé, est semé de fleurs de lys qui se détachent en taille d'épargne sur un fond bleu, et porte, sur sa face interne, l'inscription "C'est le sinet du roi Saint-Louis". Le chaton, de forme rectangulaire, renferme une agate (sic) sur laquelle est gravé le saint debout, placé de face, couronné, nimbé, et tenant le sceptre et le globe. Dans le champ, SL (Sanctus Ludovicus) (sic), d'une écriture moins ancienne que la gravure."
Our ring is a copy probably made under Charles X (on the occasion of his coronation in 1825?) of the signet ring called "of Saint Louis" kept in the Louvre Museum (inv. MR 92), dated from the 14th century.
The file specifies that the nimbus seems to be a later addition, as well, perhaps, as the two letters S L: the intaglio could have served as a seal for Louis X le Hutin and not for Saint Louis. As for the enamelled gold ring adorned with a sprinkling of fleur-de-lys champlevées, inside which runs the inscription attributing the "signet" to Saint Louis, it is obviously much later than the reign of Louis IX and may be close to several works of the 14th century, in particular the decoration of the binding plate of the Apocalypse of the Sainte-Chapelle donated in 1379 by Charles V. Perhaps it was executed during the reign of the latter, who had several jewels which passed for having belonged to Saint Louis.
The presence of the jewel is attested in the treasury of the abbey of Saint-Denis in the first years of the 16th century.