Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What's Old is New: Double Rings

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Isabella reporting,

Among the hottest trends in jewelry right now are double rings - rings whose designs span two fingers. It's considered a look that's new, hot, fresh, and very 2016.

So even though I know that there's nothing new under the sun, I was surprised when I saw this ring, upper left, last week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The shadow reveals the two rings beneath the three stones, and the black-and-white photo, right, from the museum's web site shows the joined rings more clearly.

Featuring an emerald flanked by two rose-cut diamonds set in gold, the double ring was made in New York in 1895 by the well-regarded jewelry firm of Marcus & Company. The company's founder, Herman Marcus (1828-1899), was known for taking inspiration from the past for his designs, and this ring is in the Renaissance revival style popular at the time. So very 1895, by way of the 16th century.

But it turns out that the design is even older than that. A little more investigation, and I learned that the double ring design dates back at least to the 1st century BC, when the ring, lower right, was made in Hellenistic Greece. With an amethyst flanked by two garnets set in twisted bezels, this gold ring would be right in style today. Proving that, once again, what's old (even very old!) is new again.

Above: Double ring, Marcus and Company, 1895, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Top left photography ©2016 Susan Holloway Scott.
Below: Hellenistic Greek gold double ring, 2nd-1st century. Private collection; image via TimeLine Auctions.


Hels said...

Three big stones, set proudly way above the gold ring, look gorgeous but are not so good when the wearer was washing dishes or gardening. I am hoping, therefore, that the wearer was smart enough to preserve the triple stoned ring for dressy occasions.

Everything that comes around, goes around! *nod*

Sarah said...

Everything that comes around does indeed go around, I recall double rings were hot for Goths in the 1990s too. I'm afraid my reaction is the same as it was when my son was wearing them. How uncomfortable! you certainly couldn't embroider readily when wearing one... and of course, that's the whole point, isn't it? you can't garden or wash up or even sew. So you are a lady of total leisure and showing it off by having your fingers in bondage.... a subtle way of declaring your indifference to any kind of manual exertion.

Karen Anne said...

That Greek ring is particularly lovely. I think I would have made all the stones garnets, though, to avoid clashing colors.

If these rings were worn at the base of the two middle fingers I think they would not interfere too much with dexterity.

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