Elizabeth I’s Locket Ring on Display

Thank you so much to Tamise for alerting me to the fact that Elizabeth I’s famous locket ring is on display right now. The ring isn’t generally on display as it is kept at Chequers, the official country residence of the Prime Minister, so this is your chance to see it. It is part of the ‘Gold: Power and Allure’ exhibition of the Goldsmiths’ Company.

More details can be found on Tamise’s blog post – click here – and on the exhibition page of the Goldsmiths’ Company website – http://www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk/events/gold-power-and-allure/

The exhibition is on now and is running until 28th July.

Another photo of the ring can be seen at https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Locket-ring.jpg – thanks to Marilyn Roberts for sending it to me.

On this day in history…

1535 – Execution of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester and Catholic martyr, by beheading – see Bishop John Fisher Executed

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30 thoughts on “Elizabeth I’s Locket Ring on Display”
  1. The photo you have above is wonderful I have not seen such a close up shot of the ring before. The detail is amazing, its hard to imagine that the great tudor Queen wore this every day all those years ago. The things that ring must have been privy to is thought provoking, things we will never know about…if only it could speak!!!

  2. I love this ring and find the design really interesting. Does anyone know what the white metal comprising the ring itself is??

    1. The David Starkey/Susan Doran catalogue from the 2003 exhibition says it comprises:
      mother of pearl hoop, table-cut rubies, pearl, table-cut diamonds, enamel.

      Probably a gift from Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford.

      ‘probable authentic likeness of Anne Boleyn’ although it doesn’t elaborate as to how this could have been done forty years after her death and when her portraits hed been destroyed.

      It is very imposing when closed, with ‘E’ superimposed over ‘R’, both in table cut diamonds.

  3. I’m hoping to get to this in the first week in July, there are some outstanding objects in this exhibition. One thing though – publicity (not necessarily via the Goldsmiths), claims this is the ring sent to James I when Elizabeth died. I saw it at the 2003 ‘Elizabeth’ exhibition curated by David Starkey and the catalogue says only that it was probably given to Elizabeth around 1575 and later James I gave it to the 1st Lord Home, but nothing about it being the ‘evidence of her death’ ring.

    1. Thanks for the info. On looking at it again, I can see that the shank does indeed look translucent like mother of pearl.

      I had always read that the ring that was taken to James I as proof of her death was her coronation ring, which had been cut off of her finger shortly before her death.

      I’d give anything to find an actual copy of this ring, but have only seen the replica at the AB Files store and one other online, neither of which is a perfect replica.

    2. Thank you, Marilyn R! There is no evidence that this was given to James VI of Scotland and James I of England upon her death. The best I have read is that Queen Elizabeth would not go to be for fear of dying and was lying in cushions on the floor. When asked and asked, when she could not speak, she was asked again if James VI of Scotland should succeed and she gave “a hand gesture.” So know one really knows who the Queen wanted as an heir on her final say (that was Queen Elizabeth, to keep them guessing), but was cut off to give to James to let him know that he succeeded as absolute monarch over England as James I, and James VI phased out and England and Scotland were united under James I.

      I look at the site of the exhibition as well. I would LOVE to see it and and the Pleides – “The Power of Gold from and Elizabethan ruff circa 1660. The ring is wonderul, and I can see why they say this really the portrait of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Anne as Claire wrote an article about this a while back. To go to the exhibitiion…What a triumph! Thank you, WilesWales

      1. Forgive me, but I have read that Queen Elizabeth I was finally brought to bed, and in “Elizabeth R” with Glenda Jackson, BBC Televsion Series, 1971, which on another site we were directed to on cmtesst with interivews with Claire, one did metnion on the movies recommended, the blog moderator said there on “The Top Five” most accurate films about Queen Elizabeth I, and that person could not name a fifth (which I thought was kind of funny) this one was the first on the list. In it after standing for 14 hours, she died in a chair, and shook her head “no” to James I, who knows how Elizabeth jestured unable to speak about James I. Thank you, WilesWales

        1. For those of you who may not have seen it yet but the Bbc series The Virgin Queen was an excellent Two part series. And it really gave a pretty accurate view of the Queen

  4. Very interesting, thanks for the photo — I’d never seen a color picture before, and it makes the details much easier to discern. Anne seems to have rather fair hair in this picture — I wonder if the painter had good information about that or whether he was guessing based on Elizabeth’s hair color?

  5. Marilyn – Lara at the Tudor History Blog was asking the same question. I was surprised when I read the article that this was supposedly the ring that was sent to James I. Does anyone know what Ives says on the matter?

    1. I also spoke to Lara at the weekend, knowing that she too had seen the ring in the 2003 exhibition at Greenwich, and she’s not heard it before either. I think it safe to say that as far as James I was concerned this would have been just an insignificant piece of his predecessor’s personal jewellery and it would have been her coronation ring he was waiting for.

      If my London visit goes to plan I hope to do the exhibition on Wednesday afternoon of next week, between research on the Howard tombs in Lambeth (again!) and the Royal River exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, which I believe is wonderful. I’ll try and collar an expert at Goldsmiths’, or leave an information request or something.

  6. I know the majority of people think one of the portraits in the ring is of Anne, but I never did. It just looks more like a portrait of a young Elizabeth and a portrait of the older Elizabeth. I really believe both is Elizabeth. And as much as I would love for it to be Anne, it doesn’t look at all like her, does not fit her descriptions and I don’t think we can make the assumption it is her based on the French hood alone.

    1. i think it looks like a young elizabeth but i definitely think it is anne for that reason .i should think that the ring is the only item she had in memory of her mother and had it commisioned especially for that reason .it is known that there was nothing left from her mother as henry destroyed everything and the reason for the fair hair in the anne portrait to delude people into thinking that it was elizabeth herself ,in other words to hide the fact that it was anne.

  7. The white surrounding the ring is ivory Morgan. Ivory surrounded by gold and stone not to mention the “E” and the “R” which is blue and clear it is and has been made of as well as using many materials many and of different colors the gilt metal and stone both and the portraiture inside of herself and her mother. I wonder what actual size the ring is though as it does look quite big. I have a replica of this ring at home.

  8. P.S The mark inside is in actual fact a hallmark Dawn and yes pearl was included to make the ring also which I had forgotten to say in my last and previous post.

    1. The ring isn’t ivory, it’s actually mother of pearl and as Marilyn says there is no hallmark because it’s not metal. The National Maritime Museum description from their previous exhibition of it can be found at http://www.rmg.co.uk/upload/pdf/New_Elizabeth_exhibition.pdf and they describe it as “An exquisite mother of pearl, ruby and diamond ring belonging to Queen Elizabeth I” which featured “table-cut diamonds”. It is an amazing creation as it’s carved out of pearl. Beautiful!

        1. I’m not either. I believe that the ring sent to James was Elizabeth’s official coronation ring whereas this one was a personal commission.

  9. Thank you so much for posting the picture of Queen Elizabeth I ring. It is just beautiful. It was great to see that some jewelry survived from the Tudor era. My daughter and I visited Hamption Court Palace twice and stayed there for a few days, we just loved our visit in England, and hope to return in a few years again. If you know of any must see places that display personal gowns or jewelry from the Tudor era please let me know.

  10. I’m sending a scan of the ring both open and closed from the 2003 ‘Elizabeth’ exhibition catalogue i quoted from earlier.

    Tudor Rose, as you can see the locket is quite small, which makes the workmanship all the more remarkable. The writing on the mother of pearl hoop is an inscription that appears to have worn away with use; it is not metal so it isn’t a hallmark. The ‘E’ is in white table-cut diamonds. I have seen this ring and the diamonds are definitely not blue.

      1. Claire, Those extra photos you have added give a real good look at the ring.
        Sway says, posted something interesting above, about the picture presumed to be Anne, looks more like it could be a picture of a young Elizabeth, its a good point, are they a 100% sure it is of Anne?

  11. Fantastic! This is precisely the time frame I’ll be in London, I’ll make sure to see it. Thank you so much for the heads up on this!

  12. Having a good look at this ring, I do wonder why the woman supposed to be Anne Boleyn has such light hair. Even if the artist was working from memory or others’ descriptions of Anne, there was no doubt that her hair was dark. So is the mystery woman really her? It makes for a wonderful story, but to me it looks very little like Elizabeth’s mother.

    Another Tudor mystery!

  13. I came across a portrait that was done by a painter that also painted Catherine of Arigon and she has light hair in it. The portrait was done while she was living.

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