La Pantouffle

La Pantouffle

A one-off acrostic gold ring, circa 1800. Acrostic jewellery utilised gemstones to convey messages of sentiment using a secret ‘language’. Gemstones ‘spoke’ via their arrangement in jewels, using the first letter of the name of each stone to convey a motto, sentiment or an amorous intent. This acrostic ring is set with an enamelled slipper and a harlequin array of foiled gemstones where the first letter of the name of each gemstone is used to form the phrase : Elle vous va, [It fits you].

E [emerald],
L [lapis lazuli]
L [lapis lazuli]
E [emerald]

V [vermeil : garnet]
O [opal]
U [vermeil : garnet, the letters ‘v’ and ‘u’ were often associated and interchangeable at this period]
S [sapphire]

V [vermeil : garnet]
A [amethyst].

The message conveyed through the arrangement of gemstones is that this Cinderella slipper fits you i.e. this ring was made for you, let me slip it on your finger. The ring is size M [US 6] and the band is 1/4 of an inch wide. There are abrasions to some stones on this fascinating little gem. No other examples are recorded in museum collections or jewellery reference books. Thank you Professor G. for solving the puzzle!

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