Western Europe, Italy, c. 1760
Gold, diamonds, ruby, enamel
Weight 2.4 gr.; circumference 58.21 mm; US size 8.5; UK size Q ¾
n eighteenth-century Europe masquerade balls were fashionable events. Venice with its long tradition of carnival festivities since the eleventh century was famous for its costumes and traditions. During the time of Giacomo Casanova (1725-98) carnival was revived and morals loosened, until Napoleon Bonaparte terminated the custom in 1797. Gold ring with D-section hoop, on the exterior with acanthus ornament in relief and plain on the interior. The shoulders are forked and end in scrolls; riveted onto these are enameled forget-me-not flowers with tiny diamonds. The almost heart-shaped bezel consists of an open frame within which is set a pink enameled face wearing a black mask with diamond eyes and mouth. The underside of the head reveals in black paint over white the italic inscription “Je cache mes amours" (I hide [or mask] my love). The enamel shows some traces of wear. The ring is in good wearable condition.