Victorian Dendritic Moss Agate Ring in 14k Gold

A large Victorian era moss agate ring, crafted in solid 14k gold, with a circular ring face et with a solid piece of natural dendritic agate. Due to the presence of iron and manganese, inclusions within dendritic agates take on the appearance of branches and mossy growth. Full of quiet drama and abstract beauty, the ring face takes on the appearance of foggy snowy mornings, when one can see nothing beyond but the elegant contours of bare trees.

English and Scottish jewelers first came to prize moss agates as a gem-grade stone in the early 19th century, but it is in the late Victorian era (ca. 1880-1900s) that these pieces became immensely popular. As a protest against industrialization, urbanization, and machine production, the Victorian social-cultural atmosphere increasingly turned towards the naturalistic for inspiration and meaning. From the Luddites to the Aesthetic movement, the late Victorian sensibility was perfectly in-tune with design elements borrowed from nature, and this ring, with its ‘nature embalmed’ mystique, would have resonated well with Victorians.

Also of note is the superb craftsmanship of the gold setting; this ring is just solid, heavy, and well-made. The bezel face is profusely decorated by hand with bead-like milgrained bands, bezeled geometric notches, and textured with very fine incised lines. The gold is of a rich, lovely hue. A perfect statement piece for your brisk autumnal walks in your favorite wool coat. Classy and yet glamorous!

Description

Date: ca. 1880s-1900s, late Victorian period

Materials: dendritic moss agate, 14k yellow gold (tested & confirmed with nitric/muriatic acid)

Weight: 5.8 grams

Ring size: US size 8 / UK size P / EU size 56 1/4 (can be easily sized up or down 2 sizes by your jeweler)

Diameter of bezel: 22.6 mm

Width of ring shank: 3.5 mm

Thickness of ring shank: 1.2 mm

Condition: excellent antique condition, expected age surface wear to gold