Diamond jewelry was in short supply in mid-eighteenth century America, making Martha Washington's diamond ring an impressive display of taste and wealth. 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.


Circular finger ring featuring a seven rose-cut diamond flower cluster set into silver collet, the whole is flanked by two additional diamonds, one on either side, each stone is set into a gold collet nestled into the forked shoulders of the hoop, the shoulders are further embellished with double s-curves that stand proud of the surface, three of which survive intact; attached to the underside of the rayed setting is a gold bezel surrounding a lock of hair protected by a glass; each gem is backed in foil in a closed setting.


1750 -1775



Diamonds, silver, gold, hair, glass


Overall (Diameter): 7/8 in. x 5/8 in. (2.24 cm x 1.6 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Ted Holden, 1978
Conservation courtesy of Dr. Thomas F. Cleary

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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