China has one of the world's oldest filigree traditions, dating from ancient times, and the Chinese continued to produce it by hand long after machine methods appeared in the West. Due to their exceptional artistry, these jewels have been popular export and tourist items in every era when the country was open to outside trade.
This exquisite antique filigree and moonstone ring was crafted for the English-speaking market, based on the two stamps "Made in China" and "Shaer". Countless hours went into fashioning the filigree setting. Not only the applied decoration but the underlying mesh is hand-wrought from tiny metal threads. The material is most likely 800 silver, since there's no sterling mark. Rings of this type were customarily washed with high-carat gold, as ours appears to be. Beyond the glory of the mounting, the moonstone cabochon is a monster -- practically as tall as the entire face of the ring, which covers my lower knuckle.
Provenance of this treasure is a Georgia estate and I believe it dates from around 1900 - 1925. Its monumentally lavish monumental scale suggests that it predates the Depression and the swirling floral decoration has an Art Nouveau feeling. Certainly it was made before World War II, after which trade with newly-communist China was suspended until the 1970s.
Condition is remarkable, relative to age, since so many of these older rings have lost much of their gilding. Size can be self-adjusted, as was characteristic of Chinese export rings.
Filigree, BTW, is among the most fashionable forms of jewelry you could choose today. According to all the latest trend reports, filigree rings with an antique look are being featured in the best places (like Tiffany and Cartier). So why not own a genuine antique filigree ring for a whole lot less?
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