One of our favorite eras spans, approximately, the last two decades of the 18th century and the first of the 19th.
Neoclassicism took hold throughout much of Europe and the British Isles during these few decades. Straight from circa 1790 is this scare example of a diamond and hair plume ring.
Many rings of the period contain hair, but often swatches of hair in braided mats - sometimes in diagonal or tight knit patterns. That or later examples were set in black enameled memorial rings.
Plumes are usually reserved for larger brooches from later in the 1800s and not often in rings. Also, rings containing diamonds with hair are less common, natural pearls far more frequent.
This contains an elegant, swirled lock of hair with gold twisted wires. A holdover from Stuart crystal jewelry that placed a cypher of gold wire inside, occasionally pink foil or hair snip, this ring features these enigmatic tiny graphic inserts.
A tiny pearl rests at the center (but has now loosened). The coloration is a dark blond or light brown, and this is placed under a convex rock crystal surface.
Old mine and cushion cut diamonds encircle the interior area. Studded with rose cut diamonds, the shoulders are arrayed with rose cut diamonds in a triangular area. A total of 1.56 carats of glitter raises this to a rich tribute to another.
Characteristic of the times, the setting is flat and planar in 10k rose gold with the top area that is low set and rests just above the finger. Silver is the metal of choice for the diamonds.
Oh, to know its story, to have witnessed all its surroundings and history...
A Fun Note: Cleaning and reviving antique jewelry is ultimately satisfying. There is nothing like brushing away the grime and excess patina of the ages to reveal a jewel's true beauty. This ring came to us so black that it was hard to determine if it was just metal or perhaps silver. It certainly didn't look like gold (but we knew it was). But careful restoration uncovered what we knew was there all along, an exceptional ring!