Toi et moi
Antique ring with old cut diamond & blue sapphire, around 1900
One of the most typical and beautiful forms that rings could take at the turn of the century was that of the toi-et-moi ring. Here, two precious stones are presented on an often curved rail: Equal, side by side, yet individual. The name derives from the fact that the two gemstones are supposed to stand for the lovers whose love such a ring can seal. Here, a natural sapphire and a large old-cut diamond are set as the protagonists. The sapphire is of an intense blue color, which produces luminous reflections depending on the incidence of light. It has a slight zoning of color that identifies it as a natural stone. The old cut diamond weighs about 0.59 ct and shows a vivid brilliance. Both stones are held by delicate lobes in crown settings, with the precious metal matched to best highlight the stones' effect: The sapphire is held by yellow gold, the diamond by platinum. The ring shoulders are also covered with platinum, as was customary at the time, so that the small rose-cut diamonds appear here only as shimmering reflections of light. The bar is entirely in high-carat yellow gold. Its high-quality materials but also its nostalgic yet wearable design make the ring a piece of jewellery for the ages.
Among all gemstones, the deep blue sapphire in particular has been attributed various mythical qualities over the centuries. In the Middle Ages, bishops wore this stone as a ring because they believed it warded off wiles and falsehood, and protected its wearer from feeling envy. In his Natural History of Gemstones, Della storia naturale della gemme, Naples 1730, Giacinto Gimma then wrote that the colour blue represented Venus and the study of the heavenly bodies and stars, and was most purely represented in sapphire. Possibly from these associations developed in the 19th century the meaning that the sapphire held in the so-called gemlore, the language of precious stones. In this language it was associated with truth and loving loyalty. For example, the painter Sir Edward Burne Jones, who also designed jewellery, wrote to his close friend Frances Graham: "Sapphire is truth, and I am never without it [...] Sapphires I make my totem of!"
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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.