Jewel of the day: Victorian Bloodstone Intaglio Seal Ring Ostrich with Key

One of the things I love about antique jewellery is learning something new. I had no idea that ostriches were generally featured with a metal object in their beaks, like this one holding onto a key. From Ruby Lane seller Victoria Sterling, who did a lot of research on this piece: “In real life, the ostrich is an animal which stands over 9 feet tall and can run at a maximum speed of up to 45 miles per hour, fast enough to chase a cheetah. In heraldry, the image of an ostrich is used as a symbol of faith and contemplation. For centuries the ostrich was always depicted with a metal object in its mouth, usually a horseshoe or a key. It was thought that Ostriches could eat these metal objects. The family Chamberlin features an ostrich like this one with a key in its beak standing atop a coronet.

This handcrafted 18 karat gold ring features a large oval of deep green bloodstone flecked with bright red. The stone is carved with a fantastic image of an ostrich holding a key and is set into a subtly gorgeous ring with a rosy gold hue. This large intaglio measures 19 mm north to south and 12.3 mm across, the overall face of the ring is 20.8 x 11.6 mm and sits 4.7 mm of the finger. This ring is a size 8.25 and is unmarked, so we’ve carefully acid tested it to verify the content. This circa 1870-80 ring weighs 9.8 grams. Most likely it was made in England which is where I found it.

I have to wonder if perhaps this wasn’t the ring of one Peter Redpath who lived from 1821-1894. Redpath was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist who was of Scottish descent. He migrated to England in 1880. His personal crest was identical to this carving.”

This is available for USD$4,120.

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