Interiors and Exteriors
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Objects and Antiquities

Friday, January 11


Purchased from Cynthia Findlay, this vintage Birks ring is 14 carat gold, with a large opal and 4 diamonds.  Cynthia estimates it was custom made in the 1940s for a woman already owning the center stone.  

I'm not partial to opals, but was completely drawn to this one.  Depending on the conditions when formed, opal can express every colour in the visible spectrum. The internal structure of the stone  diffracts light.  I love how this opal can flash from fuschia to green and into blue.   Opal is very sensitive, it will crack if it gets too cold or wet and can't withstand the impact of a fall on hard surfaces.

The national gemstone of Australia and the birthstone of October, opal was considered to provide great luck in the Middle Ages;  it was believed to posses the virtues of ever gemstone whose colours were represented within the opal.  However, after the publication of Walter Scott's Anne of Geierstein in 1829, the stone became associated with bad luck and the sale of opals dropped 50% in Europe;  they remained unpopular for the next 20 years.   In Scott's story, the opal worn in  Lady Hermione's (an enchanted princess) hair is sprinkled with holy water.  The brilliance is ruined by the water and the woman falls into a swoon.  The following day the only trace of Hermione is a small heap of ashes.

The unusual setting of this piece caught my attention immediately. It's medieval and other-worldy. I love the symbolism that the 4 diamonds represent.  The changing seasons, the compass points, and the elements.  According to Eden Gray in Mastering the Tarot , "the number Four stands for the cube or square, equally divided.  It is the number of reality, the material universe, logic, and reason".  Worn as an engagement ring it is my most treasured possession. 

1 comment:

  1. exquisite ring and exquisitely photographed!
    truly magical!