In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, says Tennyson and with the crocuses and daffodils coming up in Hyde Park it won’t be long before the marriage proposals start.
Of course an engagement ring will be needed to mark the solemnity of the occasion, a tradition since ancient times.
The engagement ring has its origins in Roman times, with an iron band gifted to symbolise the enduring and lasting dedication between a man and a woman and to signify the joining of two families.
With time and improved metal working techniques this iron band was replaced by more intricately embellished silver or gold bands, now representing the sharing of trust and wealth.
Later, more symbolic imagery was introduced, such as the clasping of hands. This was called a fede or faith ring and was now worn on the third finger of the left hand. This finger was believed to connect to the heart. So now the engagement ring comes to represent the gift of love.
Still later, gemstones are introduced, the favourite of all being the diamond, it’s durability and brilliance representing eternal love.
Diamonds truly are forever and they still remain the favourite choice of stone for an engagement ring and are guaranteed to please and warm any woman’s heart.
Click here to view our selection of both vintage and modern, traditional and contemporary engagement rings.
We can also source, design and set to your specifications.
January Birthstone – Garnet
Symbolic of prosperity and good health, it traces back the Bronze Age used in Ancient Egyptian jewellery. During the Middle Ages, it was exchanged to signify trust and affection.
Garnets can be found in an array of stunning antique jewellery, red garnet’s availability increased with the discovery of the famous Bohemian garnet deposits in central Europe around 1500.
Garnets are not only red they come in array of colours greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds, and even some blues.
Victorian pieces often are set with garnets and cut as cabochons and normally with pearls or diamonds. Garnets became massively popular set in suites, occasionally foil backed to enhance the colour and often set in yellow gold – giving that warmth and richness of colour.
We have some amazing pieces of antique and vintage garnet jewellery:
VICTORIAN HOLBEINESQUE GARNET EARRINGS & PENDANT SUITE
A Holbeinesque style Victorian pendant and earrings suiteset with cabochon garnets and rose-cut diamonds, with gold surrounds, decorated with blue, champlevé enamelled garlands, set with natural half pearls. The backs are engraved with foliage and flowers. There is a locket section at the back of the pendant, with woven hair, circa 1860-1880. Unsigned.
Pendant approximately 65mm long, 25mm wide; earrings 25mm long, 22mm wide.
Antique Garnet Earrings
A pair of Victorian, gold earrings, with Etruscan style work, set with almandine garnets, on hooks, circa 1870.
A Victorian garnet brooch
set with cabochon cut garnets set in a floral motif, suspending another cabochon garnet drop, with a further cabochon garnet drop suspended from two gold rope chains, circa 1875
A Victorian garnet necklace
A Victorian garnet necklace, with ten clusters with cabochon garnet centres, surrounded by round and pear shape rose-cut garnets, with cabochon garnet spacers in rub over settings, circa 1870.
Then to the more unusual colours of garnets –
Demantoid garntes are the rarest type of garntes and get their desirable green color from the inclusion of chromium into the andradite composition. The color ranges from yellowish or brownish green to an incredible, bright yellowish green. The finest Russian material is the most prized and it’s the colour green by which all demantoids are judged. Stones with typical and well-formed horsetail inclusion an inclusion unique to demantoid and found in most Russian specimens
A pair of demantoid garnet and diamond cluster earrings, mounted in platinum, set with two demantoid garnets, with a total weight of 1.40ct and diamonds weighing 0.53ct and 0.80ct, on 18ct white gold safety hooks.
When we moved into our previous Bond Street premises, in 2000, we discovered that there was already a fully running workshop on the top floor. To us it was the best kept secret in Bond Street. To make matters even better we discovered the head of the workshop was already renowned for his quality of workmanship. He started as an apprentice at the age of 15 and now has over 55 years of experience. Although we have moved he still carries out repairs for us and makes specially commissioned jewels.
The jewellery made in his workshop is amongst the finest made in traditional workshops in London. Sadly, due to new technologies that are coming into use, the age old techniques will gradually start to be lost over the next few decades. While the new manufacturing methods, such as CAD are fantastic, they cannot match the quality of a hand made piece. Due to the processes involved the traditionally made piece tends to have more substance, whereas modern manufactured pieces tend to have a lighter feel.
We provide an individual design service for your special bespoke commissions. Our work ranges from classic, simple, four claw solitaire ring designs to exquisite silver-upon-gold mounted jewellery, set with old-cut diamonds in cut down settings, which are indistinguishable from the original pieces that were made in the 1880s to the 1890s. We can produce colourful gem encrusted jewels to beautifully enamelled creations. We are happy to discuss all processes of the the making of your unique piece. We can work from your own design or we can design a piece from your ideas, made by our craftsmen, to create something for you to treasure.