Victorian Imp: Labradorite Monkey Ring
The last decades of the 19th century brought with it a yearning for jewelry that evoked a sense of spontaneity, art and creativity in its design. The naturalistic designs of the Art Nouveau movement and the Arts and Crafts jewelers were content to exploit more “humble” materials and covet a return to pride in the craftsmanship of each piece found expression in this time frame. So-called novelty jewelry from the previous decades remained popular.
Here we have an example of a Victorian era labradorite stone carved into a stylized face motif of a monkey. Eyes of rose cut diamonds set into silver add intrigue to the already curious little expression on the face. The fine carving details the nose, cheeks, dimples and pouty mouth, the fur and cheeks—even the waves in the fur are evident. Magical flashes of the blue-green color of the stone bring even more charm into this gem.
These labradorite carvings were quite in vogue during the mid to later 1800s in the form of stickpins or brooches. This one was probably remounted into this 9k yellow gold ring appointed with a twisted wire work border and three part shoulders with a simple shank.
Measurements: 13/16 of an inch (2.1 cm) in length north to south on the hand by 3/4 of an inch (1.9 cm) in width and rises 3/8 of an inch (0.8 cm) from the finger. This ring has a weight of 6.6 grams (4.3 dwt).
Ring Size: 6-1/2 US (UK L-1/2; Euro 16.625, 52.5 mm)and can be sized to fit almost any hand.
Condition: Excellent; most likely reset in the early to mid 20th century.
Date: Circa 1880 for the labradorite carving and early to mid 20th century for the gold mount.