Dress to Impress

Unusual ring with chrysoprase & old cut diamonds in white gold, 1920s

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, but also as a memorial to the deceased. 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 significance. 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 rings with sentimental connotations 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 ring here, from the Art Deco period, is a child of this development; it is a piece of jewellery whose sole function is to cast its wearer in the most elegant light possible. It makes use of a rather unusual setting, setting a large chrysoprase cut into a cabochon. The stone is a bright apple-green color, partially with small, glittering inclusions. A frame of 16 individually proportioned old-cut diamonds surrounds the center stone and highlights its fresh color. In addition to the diamond cuts, the metal combination of the ring allows for a more accurate dating, as it is crafted of white gold with a fine overlay of platinum on the ring head. White gold was not patented in Germany until the 1910s, and due to the war it did not find widespread use until the Art Deco years. However, as the early white gold alloys had a delicate yellow tinge, jewellery was often given a layer of platinum on top. The ring is very well preserved and in unusual materiality a rare find. Its hallmarking, but also its provenance, suggest that it was made in Germany.

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.