The 1740-60 period saw the absolute peak of the Rococo style and mourning jewellery reflected the mainstream in the same manner as any other form of mainstream fashion. Elaborate scrollwork bands with rose shaped gold work to the underneath bezel and small crystals make up much of the exceptional Rococo pieces that exist today.
When referencing a Rococo ring in a previous article, I mentioned that it was the ideal for the style of the time. This particular piece complements it perfectly and not only has all of the elements of perfection when looking for Rococo piece, but it’s on the earlier era of Rococo (1640s), rather than the 1660s ring that was at the end of its lifespan.
Firstly, we have the Memento Mori symbolism in full, crisp depiction with the skull on top of hairwork placed under the faceted crystal. Flanking this on the shoulders are the fleur-de-lis, the introduction of the Rococo organic motif that makes up the band itself.
The undulating Rococo ribbon motif is quite embellished for its time, rather than a much straighter edged and slightly curving ribbon motif. This piece has the addition of the band being broken up by delicately curved gold work, separating out the dedication across the band itself.
Underneath the bezel, we see the familiar rosette shape that was so common during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. As a rule, to identify the approximate age of a piece, take note of the bezel and the setting, it’s one of the most obvious points to reference with a jewel such as this. Also, take note of any solder or bands that don’t match the bezel itself, you’ll find that more often than not, there are many marriages of jewels created from ribbon slides of the time and pendants to form a ring.