The Black and White Ball

Elegant Art Deco onyx ring with diamonds in gold & platinum, around 1930

When Truman Capote invited guests to the "Black and White Ball" in 1966, it was clear - even before the doors of the Plaza Hotel in New York had opened to the invited guests - that this would be the social event of the year. Not because of the 450 bottles of Tattinger Champagne that would be opened that evening, but mostly because of the idea of the entire evening being done solely in white and black. From the guests' dresses to the decorations, the unconditional will to create the famous author left a unique and particularly extraordinary impression. The idea, however, of choosing the two non-colours as the theme of the party was nothing new: the Art Deco of the 1920s and 1930s had already elevated white and its counterpart to the frequently used theme of jewellery, wardrobe and decoration. The ring presented here from the years around 1930 bears particularly fine witness to this. The ring is developed from basic geometric shapes. A diamond in the old brilliant cut is set in the center of the design. It shines brightly in the middle of a plate of black onyx, which creates an exciting contrast to the diamond and the platinum of the settings and ring shoulders. So black and white is the theme here too - although the ring does reveal a little yellow gold when viewed from the side. As is typical of the time, the ring rail and the lower cadre of the ring head are made of yellow gold, so that the ring retains a certain warmth despite the harsh contrast.

White jewels, i.e. jewellery in white colouring, celebrate light. The innovation of electric light turned night into day at the end of the 19th century. Consequently, jewellery could now shine in the evening as never before. At the grand balls in Paris, London and St. Petersburg, ever more magnificent diamond necklaces were presented, as well as tiaras, brooches and rings, all dreams in white diamonds. Their forms were initially inspired by Napoleon's classicism. Delicate leaves and geometric patterns formed the basis. With the advent of modernism, the designs became more abstract and dynamic, and the formal world of Art Deco prevailed.

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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.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


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.