This lovely earthy-peach hued topaz ring date to the later Georgian period. Topaz is believed to derive its name from either the ancient Sanskrit word topas meaning "fire", or for the old Greek island of Topazios. The gemstone occurs in many places throughout the world, as well as in varied colors including yellow, pink, and colorless to name a few. Topaz mines were discovered in Brazil in the 17th century, and seeing as it was a Portuguese colony at the time, the fruits of these mines were shipped on to Portugal and traded throughout Europe for use in jewelry. This gemstone sits with a crimped gold collet with a foil-backed dished setting.
This type of setting is a hallmark of Georgian jewelry: foil was set behind gem to add light and sparkle to the stone. It certainly does this job, but it means that you have to remove the ring before showering or washing your hands. It's possible that water can seep between the stone and the foil, oxidize, and darken. Please keep in mind that this ring is very old and may not be suitable for every day wear. The shank is replacement of the original.
GEORGIAN (1714 - 1837)
The Georgian Era was named for the English Kings George I, II, III and IV. Within the powerful nations of France and England, fine gemstone jewelry was worn only by the extremely wealthy, and the styles were regal and ornate. As imperialist war raged in the Americas, Caribbean, Australia, and beyond, the jewelry industry benefited: colored gems from all over the empire became newly available.
A mix of artistic influences from around Europe contributed to the feminine, glittering jewels of the era. Dense, ornate Baroque motifs from Italy showed up in Georgian jewelry, as did French Rococo’s undulating flora and fauna. Neoclassical style made use of Greek and Roman motifs, which were newly popular due to the recently uncovered ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Lapidary methods improved: the dome-shaped rose cut was popular, as was the “old mine cut”, a very early iteration of today’s round brilliant cut. The boat-shaped marquise diamond cut was developed around this time, supposedly to imitate the smile of Louis XV’s mistress, the marquise de Pompadour. Paste—an imitation gemstone made from leaded glass—was newly developed in the 18th century, and set into jewelry with the same creativity and care as its more precious counterparts.
Real and imitation gems were almost always set in closed-backed settings, lined on the underside with thin sheets of foil to enhance the color of the stone and highlight it's sparkle. This makes Georgian rings tough for modern women to wear, especially on an everyday basis: genteel, jewelry-owning ladies of the 18th century were not famous for working with their hands like we are. Nor did they wash their hands as much as we do. Water will virtually ruin a foiled setting, so take special care with your Georgian ring. Very little jewelry from this period is still in circulation, and it's very difficult to repair.