A very rare cast iron ring decorated in rose gold and silver applied design of a basket of flowers and bunches of grapes in a lozenge, flanked by leaves, commonly referred to as a “giardinetti” style, after the Italian for ‘little garden’. The back of the shank is decorated in a basket weave pattern highlighted with silver pique work. The inside of the band is set with gilded silver or steel. Much cast iron jewelry, commonly referred to as Berlin iron jewelry, was plain and therefore affordable costume jewelry for German and eventually French women. Pieces set in or decorated with gold and silver were rare and accessible only to the wealthy. Wearing iron rings dates back to the ancient Romans, who believed they would help the wearer keep “le sang froid” during life’s trials, as described by Pliny the Elder. This piece has been in the same private collection for over half a century.
Condition: very good, four of the tiny silver beads are missing, there is visible wear to the gilding on the inside of the band and slight wear to the lacquer coating of the basket weave design, though this helps bring out the detail. The gold karat content is unknown, but likely is low (9k to 12k).
Size: US 9 The lozenge measures approximately 21mm x 10mm