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Dual Personality in a Victorian Signet Locket Ring

SOLD Item 11480

The function of the signet ring has changed over time. In centuries past, an intricate coat of arms, initials or otherwise personalized design was engraved on the face or matrix of the ring. A wax or soft clay seal was pressed with a distinctive seal which served as an official signature.

Consequently, signet rings are also referred to as seal rings. The engraving would be a mirror image of the design in order that the seal would contain the image oriented correctly. At some point these rings no longer served that function and became solely ornamental, thus the design was no longer a mirror image.

Rendered in 14k yellow gold, this Victorian signet ring has a dual personality of another kind — sentimental jewelry in the form of a locket. The face of the ring, engraved with the script initials of “ME” in a scrolling design, is hinged and opens to reveal a concealed compartment with original ring intact. The shoulders and sides sport hand engraved work that is wondrous in its crafting and design. Sculptural and detailed, stylized anthemion* leaf decoration creates not only visual but also textural interest. Suitable and admirable on either a man or woman’s hand.

Condition: Excellent; glass cover now deficient and replaced with plastic.

Measurements: 5/8 of an inch (1.6 cm) north to south on the finger; the locket oval itself is ½ of an inch 1.2 cm) in width. Currently a size US 7 (UK O; Euro 17.5, 55 mm) and can be easily sized. Ring sizing information.

Weight of 7.6 grams (4.9 dwt).

Date: Circa 1860 - 1870

Overall Scale: Medium

*Greek architectural ornament in the form of a stylized honeysuckle flower which was used in the 18th and 19th centuries on silverware, furniture and in decoration.