Edwardian Caleidoscope

Antique Gold Ring with Opals & Diamonds in Gold, Great Britain circa 1905

Few ring types are as characteristic of the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods as the typically British "5-Stone Ring". This ring presents five identical or alternating gemstones in a row. The stones are set close together on the narrow band with restrained settings so that they appear to float on the finger. This ring, which found its way to us from London, follows this popular turn-of-the-century British type and showcases five shimmering opals. The Australian gemstones have a bluish base color and display shimmering color reflections that change with each movement, like a kaleidoscope. The stones are not set alone here, but in alternating settings with small diamond roses. As early as 1889, when the Australian opal fashion was just beginning in Europe, the German ladies' journal "Der Bazar" said of this combination: "Indeed a splendid combination, since the brilliants lend their brilliance to these semi-precious stones and thereby produce wonderful color effects." (Der Bazar, 35th volume 1889, No. 48, December 23, 1894, p. 509) The ring was made of high-carat gold and was created in the first years of the last century. It is beautifully preserved and enchants with its beautiful opals, whose light reflections flicker with every movement.

Australia is famous for the most beautiful opals in the world. But did you know that jewellery with Australian precious opals has not been around that long? The first European to discover opals in Australia was the German geologist Johannes Menge. He found Opals north of Adelaide in 1841 - but little attention was paid to these finds, as they were not yet precious jewellery-quality Opals. There is no written record of the first discovery of precious opals until 1872, when commercial mining began in Queensland in the 1890s. In 1900 further opal fields were discovered in Lightning Ridge, in 1915 in Coober Pedy and in 1930 in Andamooka. Especially the stones from Lightning Ridge enjoy an almost legendary reputation. In them the so-called "flashfire" effects can be found. This is the name given to the property of some opals to emit lightning-like color reflexes and to produce new, exciting color images with each new incidence of light. Before the discovery of precious opals in Australia, the opal mines in Dubník, Hungary, were the only European mine for precious opals. Due to the discovery of Australian opal deposits, the Dubník mines, which had mainly produced small stones since the 15th century, could not compete on the market and were closed down in 1922. Important finds and jewellery with Hungarian opals can be seen today in the Natural History Museum in Vienna and in the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.