There, I said it. I don't do it much, as when it comes to jewels, I'm pretty picky. Captivating, beautiful, whimsical...those are all words I usually go with. But this one takes the cake - MIND BLOWING.
Typically, when it comes to Victorian jewels, I tend to search for diamond-detailed pieces, like daisy jewelry or long navette rings. When I came across this stunning piece of jewelry, my heart skipped a beat at its sheer magnificence. No diamonds. Nothing 'dainty'. It is big. Brilliantly vivid. As every bit 'showy' or 'cocktail' as you can get. It was ALL in the colors. Stopped me dead in my tracks. The color in this ring is A-MA-ZING!
When we acquired the ring from England, we thought we were buying a citrine and garnet, or tourmaline, ring. However, on close inspection of the ring by our gemologist, those incredible magenta-colored 'gems' are neither garnet or tourmaline. The citrine - yes - she's a natural near-4ct citrine with sunny, bright yummy yellow color. The gems however are actually paste stones, which in the antique world, aren't anything to shy away from. In fact, they are quite rare & special, a piece of jewelry history, and when found intact and in excellent condition, simply that much more desirable. A little education on 'paste' gems if you're unfamiliar:
"First invented in France, high society and royalty, including the legendary Madame du Barry and Marie Antoinette, often wore necklaces, earrings and tiaras crafted from paste, prominently and on special occasions. Soon after it became popularised in France, this form of antique jewellery spread to England, Spain and Portugal, and attracted a widespread regal audience throughout. Antique paste jewellery, which has now become as collectible as other pieces of 18th and early 19th century jewellery, is recognised as an art form in its own right - not a simulation of diamonds or gemstones, but as enchanting jewellery that took France by storm. The paste process was invented by jeweller Georges Frédéric Strass, who used a high lead content glass that could be hand-faceted, hand-cut and polished, and was extremely reflective. During this time, diamonds and other precious stones had to be cut around the shapes in which the gems were found. In the early 1730s, Strass became famous for his paste jewellery, which was also know at “stras”, and was appointed Jeweller to the King of France in 1734." SOURCE: Beth Bernstein, The Jewellery Editor.
So, now that we've got the basic knowledge out of the way, let's talk about these incredible beauties.
MAGENTA is how I would describe their overall color, however, take this stunner outside and those gems light up like hot coals, with a searing glow. Of all the gems we've offered over the years, natural, unheated, graded 'vivid', we have simply NEVER seen stones that explode with fire and color like these incredible purplish-pink/red paste gems do.
Nine in total, each paste measures approximately 4.50 to 4.80mm old cushion-cut, with an estimated depth of about 3.20mm, which would put them around 0.50ct in gemstone grading-land. All are in very fine condition, with no chips, cracks, hazing or abrasions. This Victorian piece dates to around 1880-1890. In earlier times, during the Georgian period, most paste stones were foiled and closed-backed to allow for the best scintillation. As the production of the gems improved, finer examples were able to be left without foiling or closed backs, allowing for the greatest amount of light to be dispersed throughout the stone. Such is the case with these beauties and my how they glow. Please visit our instagram page (forevagems) to see video of this ring outside so I can stop waxing on about its magnificence! Our pictures don't fully capture the brilliance!
The natural citrine, as mentioned, weighs around the 3.75 to 4ct mark, with a fat old-mine cut. It measures around 10.65mm in diameter, with an estimated depth of 6.85mm, but without removing the stone, we can't be exactly sure of the carat weight, especially being antique-cut. It is soft & lemony in low light and bright sunshine yellow outdoors.
All the gems are set in stamped 15ct yellow gold, though no other hallmarks are present. While we acquired the ring from a dealer in England, we can't prove the ring is or isn't British-made. Not all pieces of jewelry from the 18th and 19th century were fully hallmarked, so we can only guarantee the gold content itself, and not the origin of the ring.
Currently the ring is a large US size 9.25 to 9.50 (inner diameter around 19.30mm). Sizing is possible up or down, however, it is likely that either 14kt or 18kt gold will be used to size it, as 15ct gold in North America isn't commonly used. Additionally, we've had our jeweler inspect the ring, and in 3 small spots we had prongs re-tipped using 18kt gold (so the gold content is absolutely no less than 15ct as marked).
An utterly fabulous, showy and special ring, dating close to 130 years if not older. If you're all about color, this ring here will bring you much delight!!
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Astounding 15ct Antique Victorian Citrine & Paste Gemstone Ring
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