The term “vinaigrette” came into general use during the 1780s, although the concept dates from far earlier. It is a small container which can house an aromatic substance (typically dissolved in vinegar), perfume or smelling salts, usually with a pierced screen to contain cotton wool to retain the scent.
Either worn or carried in the pocket, it was wafted by the nose when the necessity of dispelling foul odors came about or when the Georgian or Victorian lady was experiencing an episode of “the vapors”.
Products from the horse-drawn carriages and effluvia from the inhabitants were only an example of what the environment offered. Consequently, the vinaigrette was an accessory which became a necessity for those who could afford such.
Here is a very rare example in a ring. Most are in the form of pendants or fine small boxes. We have even offered a pair of vinaigrette earrings, but never before a ring!
In silver and 15k rose gold, it has an ingenious construction. On each side, the gold engraved elements can be clicked outward. Hinged, the top lifts up to reveal a pierced decorative screen. Beneath it, a shallow compartment can hold the scent.
Lapis lazuli lies beneath the top. A giardinetti (from the Italian word for garden) or vase with flowers is dotted with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and rose cut diamonds.
Around the gallery, hand engraving embellishes the silver and rose gold shoulders as well as part of the band. Dating from circa 1840, this ring ranks as remarkable.