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SET OF FOUR GEMSTONE “DEAR” ACROSTIC STACKING RINGS BY SIEGELSON, NEW YORK

A set of stacking rings collet-set with an antique cushion-cut diamond, emerald, amethyst, and ruby; mounted in platinum

  • Measurements: 1/8 x 3/4 x 13/16 inch
  • Ring size: 6

Additional cataloguing

Significance

The first acrostic jewels were likely produced in France during the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. Credit for their invention is given to court jeweler Jean Baptiste Mellerio whose royal patrons included Napoleon Bonaparte and the Empress Josephine. The Emperor was a great admirer of acrostic jewels and commissioned various pieces in this style to commemorate important events. The fashion for acrostic jewels soon spread across the channel to England, where sentimental Georgians and Victorians took delight in sending encoded messages of love and friendship through the gemstones in their bracelets, crosses, and rings.

An acrostic jewel is one in which the first letter of the name of each stone, when set in a particular order, spells a word or phrase, such as DEAREST, REGARD, or personal messages. The stones in the four rings presented here are diamond (D), emerald (E), amethyst (A) and ruby (R) spelling DEAR when worn in the proper sequence. Acrostic jewels are treasured tokens of the relationship between the giver and the wearer, making them highly personal objects.

The majority of acrostic rings were designed as single rings in the form of a half hoop or cluster set with multiple stones. Siegelson has reimagined this romantic antique form for the modern collector by setting the stones in a sleek polished platinum mounting. The acrostic message is revealed only by grouping the four bands in a certain sequence. This set of acrostic rings would be a highly unusual and cherished jewel.