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. More


1750 -1775



Diamonds, silver, gold, hair, glass


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


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

Object Number



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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