c. 1890s Belle Epoque Ruby & Diamond ‘Toi et Moi’ 18k Gold Bracelet

An alluring c. 1890-1900s turn-of-the-century solid 18k gold bracelet, set with 14 natural rubies (approx 1.4 ctw) and 14 old cut European cut diamonds (approx. 0.7 ctw) in a setting of interlinked circles, with the raised gallery augmented with intricate filigree work. The band is in the form of an interwoven helical twist, a hoop design revived from ancient Greco-Roman bracelets and a texture notable for its historic association with unicorn (narwhal) horns. The design of interlocked circles is deeply romantic and symbolizes the eternal merging of twin souls. Jewelry set with two contrasting type of gemstones — often a diamond and a corundum (e.g. ruby or sapphire), or two different corundums — are often referred to as “toi et moi” (you and I) and were extremely popularly towards the late 19th century, when the Victorian cult of sentimentality inspired jewelers to create pieces replete with romantic symbolism. Renewed interest in classical antiquity and far eastern philosophy had also encouraged the adoption of circular motifs such as the ouroboros and the Buddhist ensō as symbols of infinity and the eternal. This bracelet would make a splendid romantic gesture, to convey a sense of timeless beauty and eternal affection.

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Date: c. 1890-1900s

Materials: natural earth mined diamonds, natural rubies, solid 18k yellow gold (marked & tested)

Weight: 22.3 grams

[18k] (on inside clasp) for solid 18k gold
[?] second illegible hallmark rubbed out

Dimension of double circle bracelet face: 20 x 22 mm

Height of bracelet face: 8 mm

Diameter of rubies: 2.5 – 2.75 mm (14 total, approx. 1.4 ctw)

Diameter of diamonds: 2.25 – 2.5 mm (14 total, approx. 0.7 ctw)

Approx. clarity of diamond: varies— about 6 or 7 in the VS range, and 7-8 in the SI – I range (no obvious black carbon inclusions). 12 diamonds are eye-clean. Under 60x magnification, I can spot some white to near colorless cloud inclusions and feathers. Overall has good fire and sparkle / scintillation.

Approx. color of diamonds: due to rich yellow gold setting, hard to grade for color accurately. Diamonds are well matched; none with noticeable yellowish tint. About 9 in the H-J range, and 5 in the KLM range.

Width of bangle band: 6.5 mm

Thickness of bracelet band: 6.5 mm

Condition: rubies in good condition; two show some light surface abrasions at the facet junctions. Diamonds are in good condition without noticeable chips or blemishes (even under 60x magnification). One or two diamonds have surface reaching inclusions at the sides. Setting and prongs in good condition. Some wear to the gold surface.