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Late 18th Century cameo gem-set ring depicting Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette

This one of only three known similar French rococo rings in 18K yellow gold with a double portrait in profile of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette engraved in an agate cameo comprises such a rich history, that in our time it has become a symbol of forlorn glory and revolution. The full splendour of the 46 rose cut diamonds and eight rubies surrounding the hard stone cameo and topping it with a crown equip this noble jewel to honour its next proprietor as a rare monument possibly for the birth of princess Marie-Thérèse in 1778 and for surviving the French Revolution.

Antique jewelry object group: ring

Condition: excellent condition
  -  (more info on our condition scale)

Country of origin: Although it does not carry any legible control marks we believe this to be of French origin.

Style: Georgian - Georgian style is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United Kingdom, and George IV of the United Kingdom—who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830.
  -  See also: Georgian or more info on styles

Style specifics: Rococo is a style of decoration that followed, c.1730, the baroque style in France (where it was also called rocaille), the principal features of which are asymmetry of ornament and a repertoire consisting to a considerable extent of rockwork, shells, flowers, foliage, and scrollwork. It was developed in France under Louis XV, 1715-74, and spread to Italy, Germany, and Austria and to a lesser extent to England.

Period: ca. 1774
  -  (events & facts of this era, poetry of this era, fashion of this era)

Whenever we find a piece of jewelry that shows it has a history to it we ask ourselves several questions like: Where was it made? Who orderedit? Who made it? When was it made? Was it meant to commemorate an event and if so, what event? Who was supposed to receive it? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. We have tried to answer some of these questions to the best of our knowledge.

Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette got married in 1770, reigned between 1774 and 1789, the year when the French Revolution started. They got executed on the guillotine in 1793. During their reign, they got frequently portrayed in miniatures, ceramics and hardstone cameos. As in our days one would receive a signed photograph of a famous person, in those days works with their faces on would be given to their friends, political and diplomatic allies and courtiers. Most of the portraits were just of either the king or queen and double portraits of this kind are therefore rare.

When you check the pictures you will also find a copy of their last letters before being beheaded by the guillotine. And we'll give you the translation of these letters a bit further in this text.

Source of inspiration: French royalty

Theme: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette

Extra information 1: The translation of the last letter of Louis XVI (from the French National Archive):

January 20, 1793

I demand within three days to prepare myself to appear before God's presence. I ask to see freely the person that I will indicate to the commissioners of the Commune, and that person must be spared from anxiety and fear for this act of charity that will fill to me.

I ask to be delivered from the constant surveillance that the General Council has established in recent days. I ask in this interval to be able to see my family when I ask and without witnesses.

I wish that the National Convention will take care immediately of the fate of my family and allows them to retire freely and properly where they deem useful about.

I request to the Nation the charity for the people who were attached to me, there are many who had put all their fortune in their loads, and those who have no more stipend must be in need, even those who only lived from their salary. Among residents, many are old, women and children who only had this to live.

At the Court of the Temple, January 1793.


Extra information 2: The translation of the last note of Marie-Antoinette. She was beheaded on the guillotine on 16 October 1793. These heartbreaking words - the last that Marie Antoinette had written in her cell and the traces of her tears make it even more moving - were found on the first page of her prayer book (from the Bibliothèque de Châlons-sur-Marne):

4h in the morning...
My God have mercy on me!
My eyes have no more tears to cry for you my poor children;
farewell !

Marie Antoinette

Material: 18k yellow gold and silver, see also: The silver on gold technique
  -  (more info on precious metals)

Technique: The rose cuts are set on foil. This is a special technique that was used to bring the lustre of the diamonds to its best quality.

Diamonds: 46 rose cut diamonds and senailles . A senaille is a simplified rose cut diamond, a small diamond chip with perhaps a few polished facets. We do not have the weight of the rose cuts diamonds nor the senailles which is normal in our trade when it comes to rose cut diamonds and senailles.
Note: All diamond weights, color grades and clarity are approximate since the stones were not removed from their mounts to preserve the integrity of the setting.

Total diamond weight: approx. crt. (without the rose cut diamonds)

Precious stones: Eight rubies and one agate cameo
  -  (more info on precious stones)

Birthstones: Diamond is the birthstone (or month stone) for April and ruby for July.
  -  (more info on birthstones)

Hallmarks: No trace.
  -  (more info on hallmarks)

Dimensions: top of ring 1,64 cm (0,65 inch) x 2,73 cm (1,07 inch)

Weight: 5,30 gram (3,41 dwt)

Ring size Continental: 54 & 17¼ , Size US 6¾ , Size UK: N

Resizing: Resizing is possible but because of the age of the ring we prefer to leave it untouched. We could make an additional inner ring so the ring itself is not harmed, for this work we have to charge. We cannot guarantee to make it on every size; so please ask in advance. Return policy on this ring is not valid anymore once this work has been done.
  -  (more info on ring sizes)

Reference Nº: 15201-0118

Copyright photography: Adin, fine antique jewelry

jewelry with crowns, heraldic jewelry, jewelry with human face, jewelry with human motifs, silver on gold jewelry, jewelry with diamond, jewelry with rose cut diamonds, jewelry with ruby, cameo jewelry, latest acquisitions,
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Jewelry with birthstones (or month stones) for:
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Late 18th Century cameo gem-set ring depicting Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
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