This style of this coiled snake ring looks like it should date to the late Victorian period, but its hallmarks tell us it was assayed in London in 1926. Nineteenth century jewelry is known for it's more-is-more aesthetic, but as the 19th century drew to a close, tastes began to change and a cleaner and simpler style came into fashion. The heavy ornamentation that defined the Victorian look faded away, as did many of the sentimental themes. The snake, a popular motif in jewelry since the days of Ancient Rome, managed to make the cut and its slithery form can be seen in jewelry throughout the 20th century and into the present day. This coiled serpent ring, rendered minimally but with maximum presence, is made in 9k yellow gold and set with a single .06ct round brilliant cut diamond.
ART DECO (1915 – 1940)
Art Deco is highly recognizable for its minimalism and futurism. Simultaneous art movements—Cubism, Bauhaus—informed the geometric style, along with “exotic” foreign influences like the Ballet Russe. Motifs like ziggurats and sunbursts, stripped of visual clutter, conveyed the optimism of an increasingly technological world.
In jewelry, the predominant use of white metals let colorful gems take center stage. Stones that were opaque and true in color, like lapis lazuli, onyx, jade, coral, and opal were worked into designs alongside more precious and brilliant gems, like diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Extra-long beaded necklaces and tasseled “sautoirs” followed the narrow flapper silhouette.
The baguette cut was an Art Deco innovation, and the decade saw increased use of other angular diamond cuts, like the precise caliber cut and the emerald cut. Synthetic gems, like sapphires, were celebrated as a scientific marvel. Marcel Tolkowsky, 21 years old at the time, published the design for the round brilliant cut in 1919.