Very special and rare Victorian ring in 14k gold - this piece has a lot going for it. The shoulders are beautifully decorated with flowers, and front and center we have the fede / handshake motif which represented friendship, betrothal or engagement.
The handshake panel is hinged and flips open revealing a small box / compartment making this a true Victorian poison ring, which perhaps held snuff or opium. The band is hollow all the way around to allow more space to hold the powder. It could also hold a small rolled message, tiny tablet, or a bit of hair or keepsake. There is an ornate initial engraving MB inside the band behind the ring face.Please read important condition notes below. I do not think the ring is sizable because of the hollow band. Antique piece from the Victorian era that I acquired in Europe. I also took it to my jeweler who is a certified gemologist and appraiser to confirm all the information in this listing. He told me the inside of the box portion was lined with lead to help seal the piece so it is a slightly different color inside.
Hallmarks have worn but guaranteed 14k and I had my jeweler check it. Ring is about a size 9 1/4. I do not think it is sizable because of the hollow band.The locket box portion is about 11.5mm by 7mm. Please note that all my pieces are in estate condition. This is a very old and pretty delicate piece with the moving parts so it needs a very gentle hand. The locket top and hinge do function and are currently attached, but with tiny 120+ year old delicate soft gold hinges on the back of the locket portion, I would think with over use (frequent opening and closing). The hinge will eventually fail leaving the top to detach completely some day.
The locket top is snug enough that if that were to happen, you could still press the lid onto the box and it would hold itself, but I just thought I should emphasize that delicate hinge. Again, it is currently attached and functions, it does not come apart - but it is weak, with wear leading to some missing gold on one side of the hinge. So sometimes it opens crooked as seen in the photos, holding on from only one side where the gold hinge has less wear. Because the piece was fabricated with a hollow band, the gold has worn from age to reveal a few tiny pinhead holes.
One is visible to the eye on the edge of the cuff. Under magnification, I see 3 other spots on one of the ring shoulders where it has worn thin. This is masked by the floral details and looks like a crease under magnification but it is from wear to the gold. So the piece would no longer hold powder securely.
Gold has some surface wear and scratches to the smooth sides of the box / ring face. Having said all of that, the band is still perfectly round and considering that it is hollow, the fact that it has held its shape and has no bends or deep dents is pretty amazing. The inside of the band is slightly curved like a comfort fit.
Pretty amazing fabrication with the locket top. But of course due to age - Please note due to age, this piece is not in mint condition. I would be delighted if you'd follow me in my store. The item "FEDE Rare VICTORIAN Antique POISON 14k Gold Ring Locket Snuff Hands Floral Band" is in sale since Saturday, July 3, 2021. This item is in the category "Jewelry & Watches\Vintage & Antique Jewelry\Fine\Victorian, Edwardian 1837-1910\Rings".
The seller is "callmemouse" and is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This item can be shipped to United States.