Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses
Men's ring of the late Art Deco with Essex Crystal, around 1940
Greek philosophy is at the cradle of Western civilization and continues to have an impact today. Since the sixth century B.C., Greek thinkers developed models of the world that offered rational explanations beyond mythology. Especially the names Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are still considered the epitome of wisdom. This impressive men's ring presents an extraordinary stone cut that pays homage to ancient philosophy. We see a large oval cabochon of rock crystal with the head of a Greek philosopher carved into the back. This so-called "Essex Crystal" is painted lifelike and has a background of shimmering mother-of-pearl. This makes the curly beard and the already slightly thinning hair of the classically dressed man stand out wonderfully vividly. The bushy eyebrows and wrinkled forehead give the thinker a brooding look. Unfortunately, we cannot say with certainty which ancient philosopher we are dealing with here, as the depiction follows the general topos of ancient depictions of philosophers. The Essex Crystal was probably created towards the end of the 19th century. In the years around 1940, it was given an expressive setting in yellow gold in the style of late Art Deco. Thus, the philosopher is an impressive piece of jewellery to wear as a gentleman's ring, which still knows how to convey the education and knowledge of its wearer.
The exact origins of the Essex Crystal are unknown; however, corresponding pieces of jewellery can be observed for the first time since the middle of the 19th century in England. Preference was given to the depiction of dogs, cats, horses and hunting motifs. The craftsmanship required to achieve the lifelike realism of the images was enormous. The small portrait miniatures were created using a series of techniques and steps. First, a clear rock crystal or piece of glass is cut into a cabochon, with a domed front and a flat back. Then the motif is cut into the back as a negative shape or intaglio to achieve the desired three-dimensional tromp l'loeil effect. The resulting image is now painstakingly hand-painted, reproducing even the smallest details with admirable fidelity to nature. Finally, the depiction is provided with a thin background, e.g. of mother-of-pearl, and the crystal is then set into a piece of jewellery.
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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.