A Wendy Ramshaw Stacking ring in 18k gold a five ring set in the abstract style set with a diamond VS1 quality of 0.15cts.
In contemporary jewellery circles, the Sunderland-born designer Wendy Ramshaw (b.1939) would need little by way of introduction. But, as a relatively new name to watch in the secondary marketplace, she might.
A child of the Festival of Britain whose first escapade in commercial jewellery design was the Something Special self-assembly paper jewellery sold through Mary Quant’s Bazaar and other fashionable London outlets in the Swinging Sixties, it was not until the following decade that her career took off.
The breakthrough year was 1970 when Ramshaw’s work was first acquired for the Goldsmiths’ collection, followed in ’72 by a Council of Industrial Design award for innovation.
The subject of particular praise was the ring stack – the skilfully made sets of gem-set gold and silver rings displayed on sculptural stands that (first made in 1967) fast became her signature pieces.
Forty-five years ago it was radical. Today, they are in more than 80 public collections around the world. Many formed part of the 2012 Room of Dreams career retrospective at Somerset House. They are still being made in the modest Clerkenwell studio where Ramshaw has based herself for the past 30 years.
Although quite prolific, Ramshaw’s work has only just begun to appear at auction or in dealerships – and for good reason.
Those who have bought her jewellery have tended to hang on to it, and doubtless it is more accessible to many daughters and granddaughters than a Victorian crescent brooch or a Belle Epoque sautoir. But jewellery acquired 30 or 40 years ago is coming back onto the market.
This lovely ring set dates from the late 1990s and is one I have bought for myself but it no longer fits and therefore I am letting it go.