An enchanting sweetheart ring -- or wedding ring for those who prefer the simplicity of silver -- this antique Art Nouveau band from a Florida estate bears the first mark of the Rhode Island-based Uncas Manufacturing Company (a U between two arrows). That it's stamped "sterling," rather than the later 925, is also helpful for dating. So is the style, since Art Nouveau design gave way to Art Deco after World War I. Combining all these factors, we judge the ring to have been created before or during the war, no later than 1918.
Lavished with flower blossoms and scrolling leaf forms, it's the work of a master: Vincent Sorrentino, one of the talented jewelers who arrived from Italy in the early 20th century and were instrumental in developing the American fine and costume jewelry industry. About a US size 5.5 - 6 now, it could be professionally stretched a little, but not cut for major resizing without damage to the pattern, which extends all around and remains nicely crisp. Quite a bit of tarnish is present, which in deference to the purists among us I'll leave alone. You can easily polish the ring, if you like, but I recommend using a jeweler's cloth and a light hand, rather than dips that would brighten the background along with the details and strip off the rich patina of age.
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