Despite the introduction of lower grade alloys in jewellery post Hallmarking Act of 1854, no construction or detail was lost in translation, regardless of the materials used. For today’s wonderful presentation, we have a stunning little envelope ring that shows just how intricate construction can be.
I’ve shown various swivel rings and rings with opening hair compartments (such as this marvellous example from 1881), but this piece shows the double fold and catch set in the envelope/pouch design.
Mid to late 19th century fashion adopted many classical art forms and created various revivals in art, such as Rococo, Etruscan, Greek, Gothic and Roman, yet one thing remains underlying these various forms of art and that is the heavy symbolism used in motifs. This, along with the envelope itself, shows the detailed vine pattern rising across the shank and over the envelope folds. The envelope itself signifies the shortness of emotional distance between the wearer and the person who has given it, regardless of the physical distance. Hence, the motif can work as both sentimental or memorial love token.
Also note the hair being inside a compartment, a popular style from the late 1860s onwards, as opposed to larger earlier styles.