To me, this piece is both bread and cake. This is a cocktail ring of my mother’s from the 1950’s. A cocktail ring is the epitome of personal adornment snack food — unnecessary and purely decorative. But, as it was my mother’s, it is among my prized possessions and it carries with it shadows of a time in my mother’s life before I was born … a time that, when I imagine it, is black and white and rose-scented.
The ring itself was made with an incredible attention to detail. I cannot find any legible maker’s mark but it says it is sterling silver and it must have been cast. A jeweler has told me that the stones are glass or rhinestone and they sit in closed seats that are visible from the back.
I describe the style of this ring as “mid-century gothic.” For me, it is an attractive style because I find it so evocative. I find that I have a large mental archive of images that are examples of that style. I see jewel tones, pearl buttons, heavy candle holders, and those lace doilies that women had to wear on their heads when they went to mass. I have looked up that term, which I sort of thought I made up, and it seems that there other items out there described with the words “mid-century gothic” although not necessarily in that order. A google image search brings up quite a few products — largely home decor items such as these:
Perhaps, a little piece of jewelry can be so strongly evocative of a style for me because this was the living room of the house in which I grew up. (Note: This photo was taken in 2009.)
Yeah, just let that sink in …