Forever to the stars

Antique mourning ring with enamel, diamonds & pearls, Great Britain dated 1790

Like so many details in the realm of historical jewellery, enamel has a very special history that is closely tied to ever-changing fashions. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the overwhelming majority of even the most precious jewellery was intricately enameled. The technique was complicated and people loved intense colors, so enamel often framed and complemented the brilliance of precious gemstones. With the Rococo period, this taste initially turned. Coloured stones were increasingly easy to obtain from overseas colonies and were now used to shine more seductively in the light of salon candles. Enamel, on the other hand, receded into the background and was hardly ever used. It was not until 1775 that the London goldsmith Jusen again created new pieces of jewellery in enamel, now in a deep midnight blue that he combined with diamonds in silver settings. A few orders from the royal family that quickly became known to the public were now enough, and a new fashion was born: rings and brooches in Royal Blue Enamel were all the rage within a very short time, even in Paris. Here they were called "bagues de firmament", sky rings. The ring presented here is a piece of this new enamel fashion of the late 18th century. The ring, made of gold, bears a framing of alternating white and blue enamel. It encloses an inlay of glass, so-called Vauxhall glass, in the same brilliant color of the sky of a summer night. A decorative element of pearls and small diamonds shines brightly like the stars above this mysterious ground. A glance at the back of the ring's head reveals its original purpose. We read here of the death of George Binks in 1790, at the age of 67. Probably his wife had this ring made, which could remind her that he would now begin a second life among the stars. The ring we discovered in Hamburg was made in Great Britain. The central element was renewed once at the beginning of the 20th century; nevertheless, the ring retained its coherent appearance. Cf. on jewellery with blue enamel Ginny Redington Dawas/Olivia Collings: Georgian Jewelry 1714-1830, Woodbridge 2007, p. 120, and Diana Sarisbrick: Rings. Jewellery of Power, Love and Loyalty, London 2007, p. 93f. Beautiful examples can also be found in Wolfgang Neumann (ed.): Trauerschmuck vom Barock bis zum Art Déco. Cat Exhibit. Museum für Sepulchralkultur, Kassel 1995.

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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.