Precious Nostalgia

Magnificent Antique Ring With Natural Spinel & Diamonds, Circa 1890

When a wonderful time draws to a close, melancholy is often mixed with nostalgia. What is true for the long-awaited vacation, 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. For example, the Prussian goldsmiths Jules and Luis Wièse, 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 with each epoch people associated different dreams and longings. The ring presented here is dedicated to Renaissance. This epoch of free cities with its government of free citizens, rich merchants and patrons of the arts such as the Fuggers in Augsburg or the Medici in Florence exerted a special attraction on the aspiring class of merchants and factory owners of the 19th century. They recognized themselves and their desire for participation and importance in the state in the personalities of the past, had themselves painted in the style of the past and also bought jewelry in the style of the Renaissance. The powerful, large ring is sumptuously appointed, fitting for this period in which the art of antiquity was rediscovered. It is forged from rose gold. Elongated leaf ornaments and fine arches lead the eye to the highlight of the design. A large pinkish-red spinel framed by a wreath of small diamond roses. The spinel is cut flat so that its wonderful transparency can be experienced particularly well. Only a small inclusion on the upper right edge testifies to the natural origin of the precious stone. Red spinels were often mistaken for rubies in the past, and since Marco Polo's voyage to China, they have also been called Balas rubies. It is a natural gemstone weighing 2.70 ct. An independent appraisal has confirmed its quality. The men's ring is in very good condition and can of course be worn by a lady without any problems. We date it to the years around 1890.

In 1896, for example, the ladies' journal Der Bazar (Der Bazar. Illustrirte Damen-Zeitung, 42nd year, 1896, No. 26, p. 321) reported that "jewels with Ceylon sapphires, which are currently very favored by fashion, are of truly enchanting splendor." 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.