How old is this ring?
October 3, 2009 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Please help me get an idea how old this ring is, and what stone is in it.

Among my grandmother's things was an old silver ring with an opaque blue stone in it.

It's clearly hand-made, and has some sort of sizing apparatus on the back. I've never seen anything quite like it.

I know nothing about gemstones or minerals or jewelry, so can anyone give me even a vague idea of when this kind of ring was in fashion, and what "style" it is? And also, what is the blue stone in it?

Pics are here, here, and here.

posted by angry.polymath to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total)
I can tell you about the sizing apparatus. It's very commonly used by jewelers, when you want to make a ring smaller but don't want it resized (cut). They don't last forever (mine, only about a year before it breaks), and when they break, the jeweler just cuts it off. I believe it's called a ring resizer.
posted by Houstonian at 11:33 AM on October 3, 2009

My first instinct is to say that the stone could be lapis lazuli. It's a bit tough to tell from the photo, but it looks like it is opaque blue with golden flecks. Lapis often has flecks of pyrite, and some lesser quality stones have white calcite veins as well. Sorry- I don't have any guesses as to the style of the ring.
posted by pupperduck at 11:49 AM on October 3, 2009

For some reason I can't find the name of that ring sizer. It is however extremely common and can be had at any jewelry shop for very cheap.

I think the stone is blue agate.
posted by shownomercy at 11:50 AM on October 3, 2009

Lapis or sodalite...
posted by dragonsi55 at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2009

Here's the ring sizer thing.

I knew that a childhood spent reading the Miles Kimball catalog would come in handy.
posted by cabingirl at 12:05 PM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

To me, it looks reminds me of lost wax casting, maybe popular in the Sixties. See here, about 1/3 down the page, for examples.
posted by Houstonian at 12:19 PM on October 3, 2009

Reminds me of styles my mom wore in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
posted by chez shoes at 12:30 PM on October 3, 2009

nthing lapis lazuli. If it is opaque, probably not agate, which inevitably has some degree of translucency.
posted by Rumple at 12:48 PM on October 3, 2009

Best answer: I'm not an expert but I took jewelry in art school back in the 80's and everyone had to make a lost-wax ring and this sort of cabochon setting. It's a very ancient style of setting that was revived at the turn of the century (in the Craftsman movement) and again in the sixties. My hunch is that this is from the 60's because if it was earlier (1900's) I'd expect it to be a little more symmetrical and the back to be more carefully finished. On the other hand, it could be earlier because it's kind of an old-fashioned looking design. Any art students in the family?
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:53 PM on October 3, 2009

Rather than Craftsman, I should have said Arts & Crafts movement.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:23 PM on October 3, 2009

My guess is sodalite. Lest valuable than lapis, but it is very durable and pretty.
posted by jgirl at 2:09 PM on October 4, 2009

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