Last week we asked what museum objects you would like featured for #MuseumMonday, and @write_stuff_101 suggested Martha’s engagement ring (if she had one) 💍
While we do have this stunning diamond ring in our museum collections, and it has a clear link to Martha, we do not have any association of it as an engagement or wedding ring. In fact, the idea of a wedding & engagement ring was much less “strict” than we think of it today, and wasn’t necessarily a necessity.
Regardless of the purpose of this ring, though, Martha Washington's diamond ring remains an impressive display of taste and wealth, as diamond jewelry was in short supply in mid-18th century America. Likely worn on formal occasions, the luster of the nine diamonds in silver collets would have been increased by the flickering candlelight of an evening party.
However, the significance of its outward appearance diminishes in light of the secret gold locket mounted on the back of its setting. Behind the thin sheet of glass is a swatch of hair; although its owner is not known, its intimate placement suggests it belonged to a loved one.
#mountvernon #museum #museumcollection #marthawashington #diamond