My mysterious ring with a large SS pearl: new developments

olmander

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Nov 28, 2007
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Hi everybody,

A couple of years ago I started a thread trying to find out the origin of a ring which was sold in an antique shop in Brussels as an old ring (1930-1940) with a biwa pearl - https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/freshwater-pearls/2031-biwa-pearls-1930-1940s.html

I guess the old man in the shop called all the FW pearls biwa and in fact did not know the difference between different types of pearls. The pearl is very beautiful and with the common effort here at the PG it was diagnosed as a typical SS pearl (a big one - 15mm).

Biwapearl-vi.jpg


A mystery remained about timing: the setting, including the cut of diamonds, indicates that it is quite old, rather Edwardian. But there were no cultivated SS pearls to that time, and the setting is definitely made for this very pearl. I even considered a crazy idea that this could be a pearl from the experimental harvest of the William Saville-Kent...

The gematological laboratory of the Netherlands explored the pearls and gave me a pretty useless certificate that this is a cultured pearl. No further information.

Yesterday I asked my dentist to make an X-ray photo of the pearl :)- and here it is:

OPGring-vi.jpg


If I see it correctly, there is indeed a bead inside the pearl, although the boundary on the photo is not very clear.

Now the only thing I can imaging considering the vintage design, is that this is a good immitation of an antique ring, I read about such designs made for the German company Gellner. There may be more of them.

Can anybody read more from these photos than I see? Any other expert views?

Olga
 
This ring is so beautiful, I even like the x-ray.
 
Well, how lovely to revisit this gorgeous ring with the extraordinary pearl. Does it appear to have a peg for the pearl? Or is it just glued in the basket? Can't help thinking about what other kind of gemstones it might have held? Were cabs ever cut with a rounded bottom? Say a star sapphire, or something like that----------????
 
You can see the peg through the basket. Pretty darn cool ring, regardless of origin. Thanks for posting new photos. I'll never get tired of it. ;)
 
Thanks for posting this Olga - it got me reading into your original posts about the ring which led to a bunch of other great material here.

Plus it's stunning! Beautiful design and simply gorgeous pearl.
 
Hi There,
That is a beautiful ring -
Can you post a photo of underside of the ring (under the basket)
so we can identify markings, stamp etc. This often tells
so much like makers markings or whether handmade etc. Also close up photo of diamonds.
We can see marquis but are interested in what else - We would
love to help solve the mystery.
 
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Hi There,
That is a beautiful ring -
Can you post a photo of underside of the ring (under the basket)
so we can identify markings, stamp etc. This often tells
so much like makers markings or whether handmade etc. Also close up photo of diamonds.
We can see marquis but are interested in what else - We would
love to help solve the mystery.

Photos can be found here https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/freshwater-pearls/2031-biwa-pearls-1930-1940s.html
Keep going and you'll see more photos. Definitely old diamonds, but is it an old mount? Very curious for a 15mm SSP. I think it's a fabulous ring! ;)
 
Thanks everyone again for all the compliments. I still consider this ring to be one of my most beautiful pieces although there remain more questions than answers. Quite a detective stoty:

1) The antique dealer who sold it said that it was made as a special order (elsewhere), presumably in 1930-1940. But this can be wrong because he was already wrong about the type of the pearl

2) I thought that this maybe altogether a beautiful nap, showed it to a local antque dealer, he examined it and said that there is no doubt that the pearl is real, that the setting and diamonds indeed look like old ones but then he would not exclude that the pearl is natural, given the age of the ring (oh no!). He said it is highly unprobable that there was any other stone sitting there before.

3) A man in the gematological laboratory after examining the pearl for a week gave me a paper with a stamp that this is a cultured pearl (big news, ha-ha!). But before that, after putting it in some sort of machine to give it a try, he mumbled something about hardly any trace of gold (?)

4) Now with the X-ray photo available, it looks to me that nacre coating here is not very thick, at least for a SS pearls (considering the pictures in Fred Ward's book). Accidental modern beauty in skillful hands somewhere in the Far East? (saw a similar design in a Schmuck Magazin 4-2007, here at the last page - http://www.schmuckmagazin.de/archive/SM_2007_04/SM_2007_04_042.pdf)

Still very confusing, although all this does not make the ring less charming, even if it is a perfect modern immitation of deco etc.

I am very happy that the pearl is indeed not natural, otherwise I would not be able to keep it and see it every day :)

By the way, was white gold already used in the first half of the 20th century?
 
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Yes, white gold was in use then. My thought: someone took a family piece with old diamonds and the pearl and asked for a ring to be made from them. The design is perfect! ;)
 
Hello Olga,
Regarding age - the old cut diamonds are not necessarily an indication as to the age of the ring.
Here is a photo. of a Victorian white gold pendant, made around the late 19th. century and set with rose-cut diamonds.
The earrings were made a few years ago and are set with matching rose-cut diamonds, which we were able to buy in Hatton Garden.
There is still a supply of old stones available there.

Whatever it turns out to be, your ring is beautiful...:)
 

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Hello Olga,
Regarding age - the old cut diamonds are not necessarily an indication as to the age of the ring.
Here is a photo. of a Victorian white gold pendant, made around the late 19th. century and set with rose-cut diamonds.
The earrings were made a few years ago and are set with matching rose-cut diamonds, which we were able to buy in Hatton Garden.
There is still a supply of old stones available there.

Whatever it turns out to be, your ring is beautiful...:)


Exactly!
That's what I think too - a special order with a relatively modern pearl, immitating an old design and perhaps using old diamonds.
 
Exactly!
That's what I think too - a special order with a relatively modern pearl, immitating an old design and perhaps using old diamonds.

It may well be so, Olga, but it is, nevertheless, a thing of beauty and one to be treasured.
Of course, it is also possible that an heirloom was no longer fashionable and so the materials were used to make a more wearable piece.
This was common here, and I presume it would be the same elsewhere.

I should add that when I had those earrings made they were sent to the assay office and carry a full English hallmark, dated for the year they were made.
 
What a glorious ring!
I am often asked to re-set stones from heirloom pieces into something contemporary, so the customer has something they can wear every day to remember their treasured ancestor. So that may be how those stones appeared. I can also select from a variety of old cut stones from my suppliers, to match stones which have fallen out, or become worn or chipped.
I know, no help really, but thats what goes on every day at jewellers all over the world, which makes what Gemgeek, Sueki & Olga suggest, plausible.
 
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