I have a small collection of vintage and antique rings that I treasure. They each have a story behind them that make them extra special to me.
My mother gave me this ring for Christmas a few years ago. It was the last gift under the tree- a diamond ring! Her mother gave it to her in the late 70s. Someone in my grandmother’s family had given it to her, she gave it to my mom, and then my mom gave it to me! Wearing it feels like a special connection to the women in my family.
The ring has a small Old European cut diamond in the center, about 0.18 carat. The ring has beautiful openwork and engraved details and is set in 18 karat white gold. Made in the 1920s, Art Deco rings like this were typically made in platinum because it is a stronger material conducive to the fine details popular in this style. The maker is Belais, a New York jewelry company founded by David Belais in 1863. Belais was known for being an early pioneer in using white gold instead of platinum, as platinum was needed for World War I supplies.
This piece, a vintage 14 karat gold ribbed bombe ring, was my grandmother’s on the other side of the family. She gave it to my mother who then gave it to me. Rings like these never go out of style! I have reminders of both grandmothers in the form of rings on each hand.
I purchased this Art Nouveau ring at Hindman Auctions when I worked there. I love the swooping design of the flowers and it has an opal in the center. Opals are my birthstone and my favorite gemstone- their ‘play of color’ effect changes colors in different lighting and looks like a glowing piece from another galaxy. It epitomizes the Art Nouveau period (about 1895-1910) with its swirling form, inspiration from nature, and the mystical quality of the opal that appealed to the new artistic interest in the otherworldly.
I bought this ring many years ago at Dealer’s Night at Jewelry Camp. It’s a conference on antique jewelry that met for many years just outside of New York City, for antique jewelry nerds to gather and learn together. It is a Victorian ring in rose gold with tiny sugarloaf turquoise cabochons, seed pearls and beautiful engraving. The inside is engraved ‘R. Beasant’, the name of its owner long ago.
This antique ruby and diamond ring is another ring I bought at auction. It’s not stamped or signed but has a pretty little ruby and 10 little chunky old mine cut diamonds. Old mine cut diamonds are irregular in shape and symmetry but have so much charm. They were cut by hand before technology existed to shape and facet diamonds by machine.
Another opal ring! This one is vintage and surrounded by garnets. I found this ring at an antiques show in Chicago. I love how the garnets pull the red shades out of the opal.