Elegant asymmetry

Glamorous cluster ring with sapphires & diamonds in white gold, circa 1970

"There is nothing more elegant than asymmetry." -Vivienne Westwood This exquisite white gold ring, with its precious gemstone setting, exudes the optimistic zeitgeist of post-war international modernism. Beginning in the mid-1960s, expressive arrangements with jaggedly expressive lines were popular in jewelry design, as we see here. Diamonds were popular as ever, but they were increasingly combined with colored stones such as rubies or, in this case, deep blue sapphires. As a cluster ring typical of the time, the gem features an asymmetrical ensemble of white diamonds and sapphires on its ring face that rises like a snail shell. The sapphires are designed in an elongated navette cut, providing the radiant look that many pieces of jewelry of this period display. The gemstones are held in place by period-typical pronges, the ends of which are rounded like spheres, adding further sparkling highlights to the ring. The asymmetry of the design sets the jewellery of the period apart from earlier styles. The interplay between the quality sapphires, nearly one carat of diamonds and the high karat white gold has created a ring that still possesses a timeless elegance today. An independent appraisal has confirmed the quality of the materials. Similar jewelry can also be found in David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, Woodbridge 2010, on page 414.

The sapphire is a truly royal stone. Even more often than the ruby, it adorns the crowns in the monarchies of Europe: the English state crown sparkles in the light of 18 beautiful stones, and that of the Bohemian king Wenceslas has just as many. And yet it shares many properties with the ruby, because for the mineralogist both stones belong to the group of corundum. The most famous sapphires in the world come from Kashmir, where today, however, only a few sapphires are mined. Kashmir sapphires show a powerful cornflower blue and have a so-called "sleepy", slightly milky character. Sapphires from other sites show different shades of blue: Stones from Mianmar, which can also reach the highest qualities, tend more towards an ultramarine. Sapphires from Sri Lanka shine in a rather lighter, sky-blue tone. Sapphires from both locales tend to show stronger inclusions. It should not be forgotten, however, that sapphires can be more than just blue! Because like the ruby, the sapphire belongs to the corundum group. Since in mineralogy all corundums except the red ruby are called sapphire, yellow, green and orange sapphires are encountered in addition to the blue varieties. These stones, if they have an outstanding quality in color and freedom from inclusions, also fetch high prices in the trade. The pink to orange variety of sapphire is especially sought after: These stones come exclusively from Sir Lanka and are known as Padparadscha. Today, however, the color of stones from other regions is often altered by technical treatment and then also sold as padparadscha. In popular belief, the sapphire is considered the stone of truth, loyalty, prudence and reason. Accordingly, the Doge of Venice wore such a mild, blue stone as a sign of his fidelity and marriage to the sea, set in gold. And Queen Elizabeth I of England also believed that her sapphire could protect her against slander and cunning.

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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.