Dress to Impress

Glamorous Art Deco ring with emerald & diamonds in platinum, around 1930

Among all pieces of jewellery, rings in particular have been charged with special meaning throughout history. They were used to seal contracts, alliances and marriages, and were given as gifts as a sign of friendship and love. Even in the 19th century, it was therefore common for a woman to wear numerous rings on her hand, all of which were charged with sentimental meaning. The purely decorative ring as we know it today only became established in the early 20th century. As a piece of jewellery with a new, since purely decorative function, it was given a special name in English: "dress ring". With the introduction of the dress ring, the custom of wearing numerous sentimentally connoted rings at once changed. Instead, the focus was on pure aesthetics, a fitting composition of the rings worn. Thus, in 1929, one could read in Harper's Bazaar: "One no longer sees two or three rings worn on each finger. Elegant society wears a diamond ring as a wedding band and a large solitaire ring, usually a diamond, as an engagement ring, and then perhaps another dress ring to add to the effect of the dress. The Dress Rings of this era are primarily those with large single stones." The ring here, from the Art Deco period, is such a dress ring: it is a piece of jewelry whose sole function is to delight with its beauty and to cast its wearer in the most elegant light possible. A large natural emerald of 9.20 ct forms the focal point of the ring. The stair-cut stone has a large panel through which one can see into the depths of the emerald: Here are revealed those crystalline structures poetically referred to as jardin, garden. Depending on the angle and incidence of light, the inclusion image changes optically, iridescent grass-green and blue-green reflections appear. A frame of 36 diamonds totaling approximately 1.08 ct surrounds the emerald and further enhances its color. All the gemstones are set in platinum, the most sought-after precious metal of the era. While the upper side of the ring is simple and angular, in keeping with the elegant geometric ideal of the Art Deco period, the underside reveals elaborate recesses in the form of curved arabesques. In addition to the preciousness of the stones, it is precisely this craftsman's attention to detail that distinguishes a high-quality jewel. The ring is in excellent condition. We have had an independent gemological appraisal done which confirms the quality of the materials.

"We already look with pleasure at the green of herbs and leaves. But we still prefer to look at emeralds, for their green is the most beautiful of all. Moreover, they are the only gems that fill the eyes without saturating them; indeed, if the eyes are weakened by exertions of other kinds, they are strengthened again by looking at emeralds [...] for their gentle green dispels the dullness of them." (Nat. Hist. 37.16) The beauty and effect of gemstones already preoccupied the people of antiquity. The quotation reproduced here is from Pliny the Elder, a Roman scholar from Como. In the year 77 A.D. he compiled the knowledge about nature of that time in a work, the Naturalis Historia or Natural History. The name of the emerald probably comes from the Latin "Smaragdus", which in turn is taken from the Greek "Smaragdos". The emerald was first mined around 1300 BC in Egypt, which dominated the emerald trade in the Mediterranean for a long time. Only with the conquest of South America by the Spaniards was their trading position broken, as there were also rich emerald deposits there.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

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.