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Object Number: 
ca. 1820
Gold, enamel, and faceted glass
Overall: 3/4 in. (1.9 cm)
Gold ring with faceted glass setting. Band and setting decorated with faded ornamental engraving and traces of worn black enamel.
Gallery Label: 
This ring is believed to have been received at a ball in Washington, D.C. or Baltimore in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette during his 1824 tour of the United States. The ring belonged to Helena Bache Lispenard Nicholson (1800-45), a daughter of New York merchant Leonard Lispenard III (b. ca. 1743), who married Major Augustus A. Nicholson (1800-1855) in May 1821. The couple is believed to have attended the Lafayette ball given in Maryland in mid-October 1824. A notably extravagant event, the Maryland ball was covered in detail on October 16, 1824 in Niles Weekly Register. Nicholson family lore also suggests the ring contains a sample of both Lafayette's and George Washington's hair located under the faceted glass.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Marcia Hersey Rogers
The donor, a great-great-great granddaughter of Helena Bache Lispenard and Augustus A. Nicholson, offered this ring after reading an article about the NYHS's 2007 exhbition "French Founding Father: Lafayette's Return to Washington's America." The donor descends from the couple's third daughter, Annie Duchachet Nicholson Sutherland (b. 1828), through whom the ring was passed.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group