Antique Victorian 14K Gold Natural Gold Nugget Petrified Wood Agate Stone Ring
Dating to the late 1890s or so may I offer this stunning ring from an old friend of mine in California. Featuring a yellow gold shank and natural gold nuggets, the center stone is something that is not a stone - at least I think it's not a stone. Let me explain. From a distance, the stone looks like a desert agate - you know, an agate with a sandy image - skyline image. But under a loupe, the shading on the side seems to be more "natural" matrix (like powdered sugar) yet the entire cab has been polished smooth - THERE IS NO ROUGHNESS to the touch. Which brings me to the FEEL of the stone - it's not HARD like a stone normally is but rather a little bit soft. Yes, this is hard to explain. Now when it came to making jewelry from natural gold nuggets during the heyday of the Gold Rush, there are only 4 things I can think of that were put into Gold Nugget rings (other than or as well as gold nuggets) - first, ore bearing quartz (which this definitely isn't), second, natural stones (agates mostly), third, antler/cariboo horn picked up along the old miners trail and fourth, petrified wood polished into a cab (from the area where the nuggets were panned). Anyway, it all makes for one interesting ring and, of course, if the new owner wishes, the center stone can always be replaced with something else from his local jeweler. When it came to the history of the ring, my friend could only tell me that it had been in his family for a very, very long time.
Condition: Excellent! No problems I can spot. The jeweler kept the natural inclusions in the stone? wood? intact at the top of the ring. Oh, and the nuggets are soldered to a back flat base. And again, yes, these are "panned by hand" natural gold nuggets and NOT that man made ick from the 60s!
Metal Content: The shank is 14K Gold. The natural gold nuggets would probably test to a 22K level. The nuggets are probably from California but it is also possible they are from Arizona, Nevada, the Yukon, the Klondike (did anyone see that documentary on Dawson City and the Gold Rush) or Alaska. Hallmarks include 14K on the shank of the ring.
Size: Ring size is 7 on my sizer. Design on top measures 13/16" x 5/8".
Weight: 7.6 grams - a nice weight.
Final Comments: Just a gorgeous ring and one very hard to find beauty!
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Antique Victorian Gold Nugget 14K Gold Ring