A ring that’s not a ring, a bezoar case, and the British René Lalique

Also, books!

This English 14k ring, hallmarked for 1862, actually doubles as a bracelet. The centerpiece of the ring — an ornate diamond-set star with blue enamel accents — opens to allow the band to unfold into eight delicately chased links. The top then functions as the bracelet’s clasp.

I love when jewelry does stuff.

A 17th century Indo-Portuguese bezoar case of filigree silver and silver gilt. Bezoar stones are naturally occurring stones found in the digestive systems of certain animals, (sheep, goats, deer, camels, etc.), and during the 16th and 17th centuries, they were believed to have the ability to counteract poison and prevent various illnesses and “melancholy.” Since they were prized and expensive, they were kept in fancy cases like the one pictured, which were also thought to enhance their potency.

Circa 1905, this enamel and mother-of-pearl necklace is by Frederick James Partridge. It features a central enamel plaque portraying Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, with her bow and arrows. The plaque is set in a silver frame with pink enamel accents, a Greek key motif and a mother-of-pearl drop below. The chain is composed of a series of silver and pink enamel baton links, each with a round mother-of-pearl accent.

Fred Partridge, an English Arts & Crafts jeweler who was deeply influenced by French Art Nouveau, is sometimes referred to as the “British René Lalique.” That influence can be seen in this stunning circa 1900 carved horn and opal tiara that Partridge created for English retailer Liberty & Co.:

The tiara is currently in the collection of Chicago’s Richard H. Driehaus Museum (photo by John A. Faier, 2014).

Circa 1860-1880, a very pretty gold bangle bracelet that spells out the word “hope” in diamond-, ruby- and emerald-studded gothic letters.

I’m a huge mystery nerd and I know many of you are, too, so you’ll probably want to check out this rare book auction happening next week at Heritage Auctions in New York. The highlight of the sale is the Otto Penzler Collection of Mystery Fiction. Penzler is the founder of the Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan, and it was partly through the bookshop that he was able to amass a huge collection of vintage mystery and spy novels — starting early in life and taking advantage of the fact that, for many years, collectors looked down their noses at genre fiction.

Penzler’s selling now because he’s getting older, and, as he has no family, he doesn’t want the books left behind to an unknown fate. The auction next week is actually Part 2 of the sale of his collection through Heritage. The first sale — which focused on American authors — was held this past March, so now it’s time for the Brits. There’s tons of Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Wilkie Collins and many others, and also a few pieces of ephemera, including a letter written by Sayers under the name of her beloved detective Lord Peter Wimsey.

It’s definitely worth scrolling through the mysteries for the period covers alone. I think my favorite is the Christie above, but I’m also super drawn to this Sayers, and I think I may bid on something from Ngaio Marsh, because she’s my fave.

We’re due for a new installation of Ridiculous Dog Faces in Jewelry, so I will leave you with this delightful little diamond loaf:

English and circa 1890, he’s a brooch made of pavé diamonds set in silver and gold, with onyx eyes and a pink enamel mouth. What a FACE!

Ok, that’s it. Happy Labor Day, Americans! MAKE UNIONS STRONG AGAIN!

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