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jewelry glossary

Antique jewelry glossary

Welcome to our extensive antique jewelry glossary with around 1,500 jewelry related entries.If you feel you are missing an explanation, feel free to let us know and we will add it.

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Decade ring

A type of ring (sometimes called a 'rosary ring) used in counting prayers, as with a rosary. Such rings have around the shank ten projecting knobs or ridges, to correspond to the ten aves of the decade on a rosary, with the bezel being the paternoster.

Some examples have more than ten knobs (one for a paternoster, one for a Credo), being from the 15th century when the method of counting prayers was standardized. The bezel of the 15th century was engraved with a depiction of a saint, but from Tudor times the decoration was usually the engraved sacred monogram 'I H S', accompanied by a cross and three nails, but sometimes a crucifix.

Such rings have been used from the 15th century, but mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries (particularly during the periods of Catholic persecution, being easier to conceal than a rosary), and they are still used in Spain.

From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson

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