Item Description / Dealer Expertise
A yellow gold ring set with one central cushion shaped emerald in a closed back rubover collet setting with an approximate weight of 3.50 carats, engraved “Salam Allah” in Arabic meaning “Peace to Allah” and with the Arabic date 1211, flanked by two Basra pearls in rubover collet settings, the settings and tapered double shanks engraved with intertwined scrolls in high relief.
The double banded ring originally appears to have been an ancient Roman form, a number of extant examples of which can be found in the British Museum, each also mounted with three gemstones. The tradition of engraving emeralds with Arabic inscriptions first emerges in the Indian subcontinent during the Mogul Empire (1526-1857). These successive courts obtained some of the largest and most important emeralds in the world, largely from Columbia, and engraved the stones with Arabic prayers, perhaps the most famous being the aptly named “Mogul Emerald” carved in 1695 and weighing 217.80 carats. Inscriptions of this type, conveniently, typically included a date. Gemstones engraved with Arabic inscriptions became more widely popular in the nineteenth century encouraged by the Western fashion for Indo-Saracenic design. George Frederic Kunz (1856-1932), prominent scholar and Chief Gemmologist at the American jewellery firm Tiffany & Co., is known to have worn an intaglio ring with Arabic engraving.