There was little change in finger ring styles as we move into the first part of the 19th century. From 1800 to 1820, rings generally continued to have closed backs. Acrostic rings were still popular There were some slight changes. Rose gold rather than yellow gold was used quite a bit in the first 20 years of the century. Pearl borders began to be used around foiled gemstones as well as diamond borders.

Late Georgian foiled citrine and seed pearl gold ring

Wearing lots of hoop and half hoop rings was still common and the style would remain popular throughout the century but closed backs began to disappear. As well, gem settings began to move from cut down collets to gallery and bridges, which lifted the gems up from the finger.

Collection of half hoop rings

Between 1820 and 1840, filigree and wire work or cannetille rings were popular as shown in the photo at the top of the post. Cluster rings began to be worn.

Mourning rings retained square bezels, with central hair compartments, although one can also find rings with oval and oblique bezels curved around the finger. Some rings were enamelled. Gold hoops with a chased rim decorated with, usually, black enamel and with an inscription on the outside of the band became common. many handed out to mourners at funerals. As they were not gem-set rings, they had to be hallmarked.

Towards the middle of the century, hair compartments moved from the top of the ring to become a hidden compartment under the bezel. Shield-shaped bezels were introduced as well as mourning rings with onyx forget-me-not engravings.

Victorian mourning ring, hallmarked 1838

The only rings that men wore were mourning rings and signet rings. I will talk more about signet rings next week.