Anyone who loves to wear rings regrets having only ten fingers, unless, of course, she wears them on her toes, in her nose, or in her ears! Rings can mean eternity, fidelity, royalty, even security if the gem stone is big enough. Rings were the token gifts among royalty that pledged eternal love, even if it turned out badly. Henry VIII is said to have worn Anne Boleyn’s ring on his Pinky till his dying day. In turn, when Elizabeth I died, a locket ring was on her finger. One side had her image, the other side of the locket bore her mother’s image, the same doomed Queen Anne Boleyn.
Mourning rings, mood rings, poison rings, and cameo rings have all had their day and their collectors. Superbowl rings are among the most coveted trophies in the sports world. Kissing one’s ring is a sign of respect to the “kissee.” A cereal premium Green Hornet ring brought thousands of dollars at auction a few years ago, which just goes to prove that one man’s plastic is another’s platinum. Elizabeth Taylor’s $2million plus diamond ring, a gift from Richard Burton, was even featured on an episode of “Here’s Lucy!” Richard and Elizabeth were there, too. In The Lord of the Rings and other J.R.R. Tolkien classics, rings are at the heart of heroes’ quests. At the other end of the spectrum, dime store rings and cigar bands have served as finery for many a young girl or boy playing dress up. For those who love rings, here are the top five faves:
1. Antique diamonds: Diamonds are always a girl’s best friend, especially set in rings. You can never have too many, and diamonds come in all price ranges. Akaham has a to-die-for diamond and ruby ring in 14k gold. It is Victorian, and stackable. Antique diamonds in art nouveau gold and platinum settings are timeless and elegant. Alice Antique Jewelry boasts a wonderful art nouveau diamond ring set in 18k yellow gold, circa 1900. Sweet Gesture Jewels has an antique gold, diamond and emerald ring, while rose cut diamond rings and rings set with gorgeous rubies are offered by a variety of dealers.
2. Silver and turquoise: Something about this magical combination of stone and silver conjures the spirits of the old Southwest and makes you long for a visit to Ghost Ranch. You almost expect to see Georgia O’Keeffe seated at her easel, surrounded by her beloved stones and bleached bones. Ruby Lane has many excellent examples. These rings match any outfit but look terrific with denim, eyelet, black velvet or suede. Vintage 1930s Navajo rings often have large, oval stones in carved silver settings. Marzilli Vintage has several. Arnold Jewelers has a precious ring of silver embedded with a tiny, turquoise heart. Other rings are shaped like butterflies or flowers. Turquoise is sometimes combined with other stones or gems like onyx or mother of pearl to create designs. Garnets and amethysts join turquoise to create a stunning ring shown by Rose Hill.
3. Cereal premium rings, plastic, and toy: These rings were harder to come by and more precious than the gold, diamond, and silver rings we’ve talked about so far. Many kids of the late 20th century sifted through boxes and boxes of cereal they didn’t even like, even eating bowls and bowls of it, just to get to the ring! Parting Moments has an amazing 1948 branding iron initial ring that was a Quaker Oats premium. Kollectomania has an unusual King Kong Ring, still in its original packaging. It once cost a dime! Aislinne Antiques has among its treasures a plastic Davy Crockett ring. Lake Girl Vintage has a 1969 plastic Seattle Pilots ring. Little Orphan Annie rings are popular with collectors, especially a 1949 tin example that was a premium in Post Toasties by Apple Tree Junction Antiques. A 1950s example of green plastic features Dennis O’Keefe, and is a Kellogg’s premium. It is shown by Mur-Sadie’s. Little Shiny Objects and other dealers feature wonderful carved Bakelite rings in a variety of colors and designs, including the quintessential rose. Turtle Creek Antiques, Inc., has a terrific celluloid and plastic ring that displays an old photograph.
5. Locket rings or poison rings: These rings that open up to reveal a hidden compartment for beloved photos, or something more sinister, are straight out of Agatha Christe, or even Edgar Allan Poe. Favorite examples are an intricate example of Mexican Silver [BanGLEs and BeaDs Antiques and Vintage Jewelry] and a rare silver skull ring with a moving jaw [Three Daughters Antiques]. The appropriately named shop Black Widow Vintiques has wonderful silver, daisy shaped poison ring set with amethyst. Arnold Jewelers and others have innocent looking little turtle rings that are in reality, poison rings. One silver poison ring has the face of a grimacing satyr, while others are set in rubies and other stones. Other locket rings are heart shaped or had cameos on their lids. Robbin’s Roost has a a rare double locket Georgian ring. The lockets contain hair.
With so many wonderful examples to choose from among this iconic type of jewelry, do you know where you will find your favorite ring, My Precious!!
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