Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lovely ring, terrible story




I found this great Art Deco ring yesterday - a shell (or maybe glass) cameo set in sterling silver. I'm not crazy about cameos, but the setting of the ring won me over. The shank of the ring near the cameo is sweetly engraved with garlands and there is a trompe l'oeil effect with the design that makes it look like the silver was buckled or thatched down. Perfect for the shop . . . . or so I thought.

While listing, I noticed two letters in front of "STERLING" on the inside of the band - "OB." It turns out that is the jewelers mark for pieces by Østby & Barton, a firm based in Rhode Island from about 1880 to the mid century. Østby & Barton was formed by Engelhart Østby - a master engraver and jeweler trained in Oslo - and a partner Nathan Barton. The firm was one of the leading manufacturers of fine jewelry at the turn of the century. Other than its fine, fine worksmanship, the jewelry is collectible (a bit morbidly) because Mr. Østby was one of the many, many passengers who died when the Titanic sank on April 15th, 1912. He was returning 1st Class from one of his buying trips in Europe with his daughter, Helene. Helene survived.

And so . . . the ring fits + longtime obsession with the Titanic + love of Art Deco = this ring is mine.

3 comments:

ScottieinaCanoe said...

That is a lovely ring and very intriguing story :)

JoyaJewelry said...

What an amazing story!!! I just found you and it is so refreshing to find someone else who loves and immerses them self in vintage jewelry as much as I do!! It is truly a love affair trying to tell each pieces story. Or hoping that they have a new story to tell! Your site is lovely:)

Lexi Lewis said...

What a lovely find! I'm familiar with that mark, and have seen a few other pieces before... I think it's funny how we justify what pieces we have keep! To precious to part with! Must be kismet that the ring found you :)

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