Antique Gold Ring with Opals & Diamonds in Gold, Birmingham 1906
From the late years of the Victorian reign, Great Britain imported fine precious opals from the now legendary sites in the heart of Australia. Subsequently, the opal developed into one of the most sought-after gemstones of the Empire and can be found in countless jewels of the Victorian and Edwardian periods. This ring from the reign of Edward VII is also set with three of these precious stones, each with its own unique play of colour. Like galactic nebulae, the stones shimmer in an iridescent play of colours and change their appearance kaleidoscopically with every movement. In particular, pink and orange as well as neon green reflections dominate here in all three opals. The ring follows a popular British type at the turn of the century and presents the opals not alone, but in alternating settings with small diamonds. 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) Thanks to the English Hallmark inside the ring's band, we know that the jewel was submitted to the Birmingham Assay Office in 1906. Since then, the ring has apparently been very well kept and has survived so beautifully- from the fine claws to the gleaming opal cabochons, which have survived over a century without any distracting scratches.
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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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.