The Bishop's Ring - 2013


Many years ago in a meeting at the College of Arms in London, Bluemantle Pursuivant alluded to “a Bishop’s ring”. I inferred from the context that this was a large ring. Since then we have made one or two Bishop’s rings proper but nothing as spectacular as the one we made for Dr. Quigg Lawrence earlier in the year.

Quigg contacted us having been recommended by another American man of the cloth who has been a customer for several years now. The brief was to construct a signet ring that measured 23 x 20 x 6 for a middle finger. The order was placed in mid-December and we elected to put it to one side until the Christmas rush was done and dusted. That meant the deadline was tighter and there was no room for error.

Work began straight after Christmas and, as with all signet ring commissions, this piece began as a carving of the wax model from which the subsequent ring is cast in gold. However, we immediately encountered a problem when it was calculated that the wax model would translate to in excess of 80 grams in 18ct yellow gold. To put that into context, the average signet ring for a gentleman’s small finger would weigh in the region of 16 grams give or take a gram or two either way depending on finger-size. This was colossal and deemed too heavy to be practical.

The ring is spectacular. The other bishops loved it.
— Blessings, Quigg

In hasty consultation with Quigg and the other American clergyman for whom we had made something of similar dimensions, we then proposed a ring measuring 22 x 18 x 5 which although only a millimetre different in each measurement ended up weighing a very heavy but wearable 55 grams. Once the adjustment was agreed upon, the model was duly cast in 18ct yellow gold and sent to Sheffield for hallmarking.

The ring was then returned to one of our workshops for any minute fine-tuning of the finger-size and preparation for the final engraving stage. The ring was a beautiful casting and cleaned up perfectly as can be seen from the photograph above.

Quigg had supplied very precise engraving instructions which we naturally followed to the letter. The engraving process is a painstaking exercise taking many hours but the end result was a beautiful deep engraving of the new ecclesiastical coat of arms that had been designed for Quigg Lawrence’s inauguration as a Bishop.

Harriet Ruff