Walking through the old diamond district in Antwerp is sublime torture. First you must pass the Del Rey chocolate shop. The chocolate at Del Rey is one of the true wonders of the world. I would bring some home for you, but there is really no point. It is so delicate that it must be eaten within a day, it is truly the most amazing thing I have ever put in my mouth, every piece is a little work of art, and the melting temperature is so perfect that in the time it takes to pick it up and put it in your mouth it begins to soften, the moment it hits your tongue it melts into sheer perfection. Honestly people, it's worth a visit for the chocolate alone. But it doesn't end there. If you make it past Del Rey, you'll be faced with an entire street of jewelry shops, one after another after another, some sell old jewelry, some new, some shop windows simply display gems, diamond in tiny clear boxes, or set on little plastic prongs, spinning away on mirrored turntables. All whilst the smell of chocolate and waffles floats on the air. A true cornucopia for the senses.
Luckily I know just the man to see, and me and my small (well, smallish, whaddya want?) bag of chocolate make our way about half way down the block to a yellow storefront with a green flag hanging out front, the sign above the door promises "Antieke Juwelen". Before I go in I check the four front windows to see if anything catches my eye. It doesn't take long for my eye to fall upon this ring. Oh, so sparkly under the halogen lights, this one was almost literally blinking at me. I admit it, I was caught in it's diamondy web.
Set in platinum (marked both PLAT an 950pt), two wonderfully bright old European mine cut diamonds twinkle and glow. They are equal in size, each is 4.6 mm across and 3.5 mm deep and weighs about .45 carats. They appear clean even with a 10x jewelers loupe and are bright white, drawing color equally from the full spectrum and sending out flashes of brilliance in all colors. The diamonds are surrounded by a modified fleur-de-lis motif and the ring is set with an additional .25 carats of old mine cut diamonds. The total diamond weight is about 1.15 carats. The ring weighs 4.4 grams.
Made in Europe, maybe even in Belgium, in about 1920, this utterly fabulous Art Deco ring would make a fantastic and unusual engagement or right hand ring. Oh, and it goes really well with chocolate, this much I know. Yum!
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