prized ornament of the shrine, and is believed to have been given by
Louis VII of France on the occasion of his visit in 1179. Henry VIII
must have tired of his massive thumb ring, for in the inventory of the
precious stones delivered to Queen Mary, March 10, 1554, shortly after
her accession, there appears the following entry: "A collar of golde
set with sixteen faire diamounts, whereof the Regal of France is one,
and fourteen Knotts of perles, in every Knotte four perles.42
pretty New Year's gifts for January first, 1571, were delivered to Lady
Mary Sidney on the last day of the year 1570. One of them was a ring "
set with a rose " ; the other was more ambitious in design, being
described as " a Jewell with the storie of time " set with diamonds and
rubies, certainly an appropriate gift for the day. This cost but £10 or
$50, a much larger sum, however, in those bygone days than it is
accounted to be to-day, for the purchasing power of money was many
earliest mention of the diamond ring given by Elizabeth to Mary Queen
of Scots occurs in Camden's account of the events of Elizabeth's reign.
After relating the events that determined Mary to seek Elizabeth's
protection, Camden continues:
therefore sent John Beatoun to her [Elizabeth] with the diamond she had
formerly received from her as a symbol of mutual good-will, signifying
to her that she was about to come to England and ask for aid in case
her subjects continued to make war against her.44
42 Gasquet, " Henry VIII and the English Monasteries," London, 1906, p. 409. Cott. MS. Tib. e. viii, f. 269.
43 Third Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, London, 1872, p. 231.
44 Camdeni, "Annales rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha," Francofurti, 1616, pp. 151, 152.