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Oscar Heyman Brothers diamond and rubyballerina ring, circa 1960. Set to centre with a single round old cut diamond in an open backclaw setting with a weight of 0.75 carats, encircled by a row of eighteen tapered baguette cut diamonds in open back rubover settings with a combined weight of 1.14 carat, entwined with a row of eighteen tapered baguette cut natural unenhanced rubies in open back rubover settings with an approximate combined weight of 1.49 carats. The total approximate diamond weight is 1.89 carats, to an elegant stepped ballerina cluster with polished borders, a structured openwork gallery and intricately pierced open backholing, leading to split shoulders and flowing trough to a solid ridged shank. Marked 18 carat yellow gold and platinum, maker's mark for Oscar Heyman Brothers, inscribed '26388', American, circa 1960, accompanied by Oscar Heyman Brothers authenticity certificate.
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Dress rings were born in the 'roaring 20s', the golden age for jewellery. Following the revolution of women's fashion during WWI, jewellery became part of the style change. This is in contrast to the pre-war years when jewellery was a display of wealth and femininity.
A stylish woman from this time period would consider herself as sophisticated and worldly. Women would attend parties with elegant dresses, short hair styles, long necklaces and striking rings. The elegant hands of women would usually be holding a glass containing a cocktail and thus the eye-catching rings were aptly named after the beverage. From the late 1920s to 1930s when platinum was requested for the war effort, gold returned as the metal of choice for jewellers and the gold ring was reborn. Jewellers from the 30s to the 40s started to make rings with larger stones in geometric designs. Gemstones such as rock crystal, quartz, onyx and aquamarine were commonly set into the dress rings. Hollywood star Ginger Rogers was photographed to promote the eye-catching pieces for the elite.
Moving into the 50s and the 60s, the post-war optimism impacted the jewellery industry and design. Cocktail rings became a standard accessory for every social event. The designs of the rings were to break the rules and traditions and were therefore viewed as 'wearable art'. In the 70s designers like Andrew Grima and Gillian Packard brought these new structural forms into cocktail ring design. Bolder and bigger dress rings were back in fashion in the 80s after a short hiatus. The design of the dress ring has continually transformed since the 1920s ensuring style and fashion is always at the forefront.