Precious nostalgia

Splendid antique gentleman's ring with untreated Ceylon sapphire, Lisbon circa 1890

When a beautiful time draws to a close, melancholy is often mixed with nostalgia. What is true for the long-awaited holiday, for a young love and the moment when the children move out of the house, is similarly true for larger periods of time. In the late 19th century, people experienced a rapid change in their lives. The once quiet cities had become modern metropolises - and contemporaries dreamed of a romantic past, when life seemed more manageable and not subject to the beat of ever-faster running time. Buildings, works of art and ornaments were created with references to the Renaissance, to the Baroque, but even to the so distant art of the Middle Ages. The Prussian goldsmiths Jules and Luis Wièse, for example, who worked in Paris, created magnificent designs that reinterpreted Gothic motifs in the last third of the 19th century. But the forms of antiquity were also taken up again - and people associated different dreams and longings with each epoch. This ring is dedicated to the Rococo of Marie Antoinette and Frederick the Great. The powerful, large ring is sumptuously appointed, befitting this era of powerful rulers. It is forged from high karat solid gold. Rocailles and elegant sweeps enliven the surfaces and lead the eye to the climax of the design. A large, summer sky blue sapphire from Ceylon. The 3.00 ct stone is untreated, just as nature created it. Two independent appraisals have confirmed its quality. The rediscovery of Rococo art began in the late 19th century at the noble courts; Franz Josef and Sisi, for example, had rooms in the Hofburg Palace redecorated in this style in order to place themselves in the tradition of the Ancien Regime. Soon, however, the bourgeoisie also adopted this style, which was associated with a carefree, sensual era. The contrast to the often strict moral concepts of their own time could hardly have been greater, but this was probably the attraction. The gentleman's ring is very well preserved. Its hallmark shows that it was made in Lisbon, between 1887 and 1937, and we date it to around 1890.

In 1896, for example, the ladies' journal Der Bazar (Der Bazar. Illustrirte Damen-Zeitung, 42nd volume 1896, no. 26, p. 321) described the latest jewellery fashions as "of truly enchanting splendour are jewellery with Ceylon sapphires, which are currently very much favoured by fashion". Blue sapphires from Sri Lanka, the former crown colony of British Ceylon, are known as "Ceylon sapphires" and have been highly prized for centuries. These particular gemstones exhibit some peculiarities in their coloration, unmatched clarity, and luster, which is almost always superior to other blue sapphires found elsewhere on earth. However, as with all natural gemstone occurrences, the number of stones mined is very limited, so premium stones from Ceylon can only increase in value.

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.