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Ref  PG4  Order of the Garter Ring

Rare Order of the Garter ring, circa 1780 -1800. The Most Noble Order of the Garter was the first, and remains, the most prestigious British order of chivalry. Founded circa 1348 by King Edward II, membership was a mark of royal favour and a reward for loyalty to the sovereign. The legendary beginnings of the order figure around Joan, Countess of Salisbury. The Countess, a notable beauty, was rumoured to be the King's mistress. Dancing at a court function, she chanced to lose her garter. King Edward gallantly retrieved it and tied it to his own leg. Observing the disapproving reaction of his courtiers, Edward remarked, 'Honi soit qui mal y pense', [Evil to him whom evil thinks]. This remark became the motto of the order. Historians suggest garter rings were given to families of newly inaugurated Garter Knights, or were tokens to commemorate deceased Garter Knights. This ring is in the form of a gold garter strap, having a royal blue enamel ground inscribed in gold lettering with the garter motto : Honi soit qui mal y pense. The garter is fastened with a silver and garnet buckle. The ring is size L [US 5 and 1/2] and the hoop is 1/8 of an inch wide. It is in immaculate condition. For other examples of these rare rings, see the V & A Museum jewellery collection.

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The Order of the Garter insignia

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