PAIR OF FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY-ERA PORTRAIT RINGS IN GRISAILLE
France, c. 1780-90
Rose gold, graphite on vellum and crystal
a. (male): Weight 6.8 gr; bezel 31 x 21 mm.; circumference 48.79 mm.; US size 4 ¾; UK size J ¼ b. (female): Weight 6.3 gr.; bezel 31 x 21 mm.; circumference 58.21 mm.; US size 8 ½; UK size Q ¾
Unusual pair of rings with miniature portraits in profile view, drawn in graphite on vellum and set under crystal with beveled edges. The female wears a palecolored chemise, her hair held by a ribbon loosely falling on her shoulder; the male with sideburns has his hair bound at the back in a ponytail and wears dark loose-fitting clothing. The mounts are made of rose gold with a slender hoop, plain on the interior and with a central ridge with beveled edges on the exterior. The expanded ends support the vertical rectangular bezel with slightly convex underside in gold to fit the curvature of the finger. It is extraordinarily rare (we found no other examples) to find a pair of portrait rings. In this instance, the male wore the ring of his wife, which has the larger band, and vice versa. Even when separated, the couple would thus be together.