This unusual and rare cameo ring with a whirling dervish is quite a find! It is a wonderful example of 19th century souvenir jewelry that ladies would purchase to remind them of their exotic travels. Many traveled to Italy or Greece to see the ruins, but even though the exquisite train, the Orient Express, went all the way to Constantinople, today known as Istanbul, it was the truly intrepid traveler that made it to the exotic gateway between east and west.
The mesmerizing religious ceremony of the whirling dervishes of the Sufi Muslims called Sema was and is a must see for any traveler to Turkey. Their religious practice of revolving is meant to symbolize the revolutions that must be made by all the universe, from the smallest cell to the expansive galaxy.
The cameo features s a dervish seen performing this age old spiritual ritual in his traditional camel hair cap, called a sikke, his wide white skirt, and cloak. The cameo captures the movement of the dervish perfectly, arms folded, skirt flowing and body revolving.
This oval cameo of white stone is bezel set in a base metal and has a sterling silver band. The cameo measures 23 mm. x 20 mm. The ring is not marked, but tested as sterling silver.
The ring weighs 7.2 grams and is a size 6 US. It is in good overall condition, only showing slight wear and smudges to the stone surface.