Knowledge Centre > Jewellery History > History

Rings that dance!


Oscar Heyman Burmese sapphire and diamond ballerina ring
Oscar Heyman Brothers Burmese sapphire and diamond ballerina ring, American, circa 1970.
Ref: 21566

The term ‘ballet’ stems from the Italian word 'ballare', meaning 'to dance'. For centuries, jewellers have looked at the world around them for inspiration. In the 1930s when several dancers left Diaghilev's ballet company to work and settle in the United States, ballet exploded in popularity and captured the imagination of thousands. From this, the iconic ballerina ring came into being.

Spiralling across the finger, ballerina cluster rings are a unique style of cluster design. Invoking a ballerina’s tutu, these rings traditionally showcase baguette-cut diamonds that swirl around a central gemstone in a dance of light and colour. Tapered baguette-cut diamonds are the perfect cut to use, as they radiate out from the centre and reflect light in linear flashes. Only master craftsmen could create such a design, as every hand-cut gemstone had to be the perfect shape and set precisely to create a continuous surround, mimicking the graceful twirl of a ballerina. This process involved meticulous precision in both the cutting and setting of gemstones.

In the 1950s, Oscar Heyman created their iconic ballerina design, cementing its desirability for the decades to come. Ballerina rings soon became a must-have in one's jewellery box, as there was a fashion for grander and more striking cocktail rings. Coming in a myriad of shapes, sizes and colours, it is the undulating outline that makes ballerina rings so distinctive from other cluster designs, with gemstones working together in perfect harmony to create a sinuous and sparkling illusion. Indeed, this enduring design is a timeless classic, with some of the most famous jewellery houses, including Oscar Heyman Brothers, Tiffany & Co., and Boucheron all designing dazzling ballerina rings.

Reference -

Markowitz. Y. J. Hamilton. E. 2017. Oscar Heyman; The Jewelers' Jeweler. MFA Publications. pg 65.

Oscar Heyman Brothers sapphire and diamond ring hatton garden
Oscar Heyman Brothers sapphire and diamond ballerina cluster ring, American, circa 1970.
Ref: 15664
J. E. Caldwell emerald diamond ring berganza hatton garden
J. E. Caldwell cabochon emerald and diamond ballerina ring, American, circa 1970.
Ref: 18180
Oscar Heyman Brothers diamond screw ring berganza hatton garden
Oscar Heyman Brothers diamond screw ring, American, circa 1960.
Ref: 25791
Oscar Heyman Brothers diamond and ruby cluster ring hatton garden
Oscar Heyman Brothers diamond and ruby cluster ring, American, circa 1970.
Ref: 21949
Vintage diamond ballerina ring berganza hatton garden
Diamond ballerina ring, French, circa 1940.
Ref: 24047
Vintage ruby and diamond cluster ring berganza hatton garden
Vintage ruby and diamond cluster ring, circa 1970.
Ref: 26726
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Updated 18/05/2024 at 3:51PM

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