AUCTION – Spectacular ring, formerly in the collection of Her Royal Highness, the Princess Margaret, to go to auction


Elmwood’s has been appointed to sell a ring formerly in the collection of Her Royal Highness, The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, in its upcoming sale of Important Jewels on 9th June 2022. 

The 18th Century Georgian enamel and rock crystal mourning ring is in yellow gold and comprises a hair work compartment covered by hexagonal Stuart crystal. It features a black enamel band, reading ‘E.Lowes ob:5 May 1760 aet 70’ and is engraved with the Princess’s ownership mark – the monogram ‘M’, surmounted by the Princess Margaret’s coronet.

It is accompanied by a Certificate of Provenance from Kensington Palace, which is signed by Princess Margaret’s son, Viscount Linley and the then Chief Executive of Christie’s, Edward Dolman, when it was first offered for auction with them in 2006. The unique ring is estimated to fetch £10,000-£15,000.

Spectacular ring, formerly in the collection of Her Royal Highness

Being offered in an important year for the Royal family – the Diamond Jubilee year, this is an exceptional opportunity to own a jewel from a Royal Collection. Jewels have long had an immediate association with Royalty, especially when one thinks of a Queen, or Princess.

Their collections have always represented, or even led the way for the fashions, or style of the times they live in. The Princess’s jewellery collection contained jewels spanning over three hundred years, from the 18th century, in the case of this mourning ring, to the Art Deco and Modernist movements.

Spectacular ring, formerly in the collection of Her Royal Highness

Her love and respect for the pieces within her collection is evident when looking at their condition. It is extraordinary that the ring offered today has survived over centuries, the result of diligent care and handling by previous owners, who have treated it with the utmost care and respect it truly deserves.

Traditional mourning jewels have featured prominently in the collections of various members of the British Royal Family. Often worn to respect and commemorate both the life and death of an individual and often containing a lock of the loved one’s hair (such as this example), these pieces often have sentimental attachment to their owners.

This ring commemorates the death of Eleanor Lowes (nee Graham) of Ridley Hall, wife of John Lowes. Ridley Hall was sold by the Lower Family following the death of John and his two sons (William Cornforth Lowes in 1810 and his brother in 1812). The descended family resided at Allensgreen Farm until 1830, when John Davidson, cousin and beneficiary of William Cornforth Lowes, bought back Ridley Hall and make extensive improvements to it, during his lifetime.

He then married Susan Jessup (granddaughter of 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne). Upon her death she bequeathed the estate and house to John Bowes, an illegitimate son of the 10th Earl, her first cousin and it is believed to be through the Bowes-Lyon line of her family that this ring reached Her Royal Highness and made it into her collection.

Co-owner of Elmwood’s auctioneers, Ben Gosling, said “It was such a surprise when this wonderful ring came in as part of a routine valuation. We had no idea that this was going to come through the door. This is one of the great things about working in auctions. We are thrilled to be offering such a historic jewel in such a significant year for the Royal Family.”

Spectacular ring, formerly in the collection of Her Royal Highness