I often find myself telling people that the more jewelry I see, the more I appreciate the weird ones. So many pieces are beautiful – they’re always delightful to look at, but there’s something extra special about seeing something beautiful that is also unusual.
There she is – the Lady in Blue (her nickname from yours truly. Can you tell I’ve had my eye on this for a while?).
This carved lapis lovely is a Victorian ring dating to around 1800. She’s wonderful, isn’t she? Like a ghost rising out of the deep blue sea.
Let’s get closer.
Oh Lady in Blue, how plentiful are your virtues.
First things first: that incredible carved lapis in the center. She’s carved cameo-style, but in rich blue lapis lazuli rather than shell. Look at the carefully hewn details of her eyes and nose, and the tendrils of her blue hair. She has a flower or two tucked behind her ear, too, if I’m not mistaken.
Second is a double whammy: the warm, yellow textured gold of her setting, adorned by four bezel-set old mine cut diamonds, and a wide swath of blue enamel to match the Lady in Blue’s personal hue.
Third is THIS.
You know how much I love a ring with a good side view. Our carved lapis lady has some truly exceptional shoulders: those split shank details, the lightly scored gold, the perfect geometric detail framed by negative space, which is echoed by that line of blue enamel going around the back of the shank.
I feel a little rude encouraging you to ogle the underside of a ring I’ve been discussing as if it were a person, but really, this baby’s gallery is too good not to mention. The lightness here of the scalloped gold is the perfect foil to our carved lapis lady’s serious color up above.
And lastly, here she is on a hand.
Seeing our carved lapis lady on a hand really emphasizes the beautiful kite-like shape of the piece as a whole. Narrower points at the north and south make this ring one that’s sure to flatter any finger. Plus – that peep of the enamel shoulder detail! Definitely my favorite part.
I’ve had to edit this post to add the anecdote that I’ve now met the Lady in Blue in real life! I was strolling the NYC Big Flea – as you already know if you follow me on Instagram – when what should I see gazing up at me but this lovely blue visage? It turned out that A Brandt and Son had made a last minute decision to enter the Flea, and they brought Lady Blue along. Jewelry fate.
She’s even more wonderful in person – seeing her little features in that rich blue hardstone is just incredible. Hard to photograph, though.
Psst – did you hear that I’m doing a giveaway? There’s a lovely Art Nouveau necklace at stake.
This beautiful Victorian carved lapis ring is currently for sale at A Brandt and Son. All images and info are thanks to A Brandt and Son.
Just beautiful! And so unusual! Pieces like this always make me wonder about their provenance, who owned them in the past, what were their lives like…
Oh what a grand lady! I am a suckered for lapis at any time but this ring is incredible. A definite must have, the details are amazing. So very exquisite.
Same! Love lapis anytime, but ESPECIALLY here.