Garnet takes its name from the Latin "granate" meaning seed. This moniker is an allusion to the red variety of the gemstone's likeness in color to the pomegranate seed, but garnets actually occur in all colors with the exception of blue. The red and purplish varieties of the mineral (pyrope and almandine) are the most common in the family (and thereby the most popular) and were employed in the jewelry of Ancient Rome and Egypt, Medieval Europe, and all the way up through the Georgian and Victorian periods and into the present day. This Georgian ring features a borderline magenta-hued almandine garnet within a smooth gold collet flanked by old mine cut diamonds set in silver. The classic Georgian mounting features open split shoulders and a fluted closed back setting. Please note that this ring is more than 200 years old and may not be suitable for everyday wear.
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.