By Katie Doyle
Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. We look to the past for unique trinkets and treasures, from the 1700s onward.
A PORTRAIT OF DEBAUCHERY Behold Bacchus, god of wine, fertility, and the theatrical arts. If there’s ever a season to don a pendant with his likeness, spring is it. No doubt, the whimsy of this piece makes up most of its charm, but the artistry of this pendant deserves acknowledgment, too. Every vine of Bacchus’ crown, every swirl of his beard and angle of his cheekbone is a tiny piece of glass in this stunning “micromosaic.” This mode of jewelry-making was favored by young Italian artisans in the late 18th century, who used hundreds of tiny pieces of glass to produce novel but precious keepsakes like this one. The portrait is set in an 18k gold pendant mount. $4,600. Available at 1stdibs.
STAG AND GOLD
Hailing from the United Kingdom, this gentleman’s signet ring makes a statement, one that’s subtle but noble. With its escutcheon-shaped face and its flared, sloping shoulders, the ring is characterized by its handsome geometry and fine engraving work. Though simple in profile, the stag’s-head embellishment is remarkably crafted; clearly the hands at work here, labeled “R&V” according to the hallmark, were masters at their craft. The ring dates to 1901 and bears the Chester city arms inside its 9k-gold band. $1,656.96. Available at 1stdibs.
ITALIAN RED In the case of many pieces carved from red Sicilian coral, the workmanship of nature itself—with hues of salmon, tomato, and tangerine and subtle sheen— overshadows the hand of the jeweler. This bracelet, though, is an exception, with its intricate, miniature cherubs and flora carved flawlessly into a beautiful piece of coral. The bracelet is the kind that catches the eye from afar and wows the mind up close. We can thank artisans of 18th-century Southern Italy for this masterpiece. $39,000. Available at 1stdibs.
RUSSIAN HISTORY Wear a piece of history on your hand with this rare men’s diamond ring. Crafted by Nikolai Nemirov-Kolodkin, who was the court jeweler for Moscow’s Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, sister of Empress Alexandra, the unique antique ring dates to the early 1900s. Its 1.05 carat diamond is embraced by two flowing female shapes, hewn in classic Art Nouveau style from substantive 14 karat gold. The ring comes in its original Nemirov-Kolodkin box, complete with the stamp of Grand Duchess Elizabeth. $16,000. Available at 1stdibs.