Cast Art Deco Ring?
I have bought an Art Deco ring that is described as "antique from 1935". I had a local jeweller look at it and they told me it is a cast replica made in the last 20 years. I am obviously very upset about this mis-selling and will be returning the ring. The diamond is however an old transitional.
When did they start making cast rings? Are all 1930's rings handmade? How can the jeweller tell it is less than 20 years old?
So sorry to hear about the experience you had with trying to purchase an antique ring.
To answer your questions, the art of casting actually goes back thousands of years ago! So it is very possible to find ancient pieces of jewelry that were produced through the mold/cast process.
That being said, the late 1800s was really when cast pieces of jewelry took off. In fact, the prominent use of industrial made cast jewelry is what kicked off the Art Nouveau movement - it began as a back lash against industry and tried to turn the tide back to handcrafted works made by artisans.
When you start getting up to the Art Deco period of time, the popularity with the handcraft/artisan movement was still strong but mass produced pieces of jewelry were quite common during this age too. In fact, even during the Art Deco movement cast replicas and copies of the more expensive detailed handmade rings were being produced in high numbers.
*Although, the mold/cast process is also a process that is used to create handmade rings. So, just because a ring is cast does not necessarily mean that it is not handmade.
Concerning how the jeweler knows that your ring was made in the last 20 years, while imitation antique rings can try to copy a worn look, under a jeweler's loupe it is very easy to see if a ring is truly aged or if it has been made to look like it has been aged. Also, you can tell how new a ring is by looking at the settings and around the set stones. The materials a ring is made with, especially types of gold karats, can reveal if a ring was recently made too. And the presence of patina, even a light layer that is not readily noticeable except by closer examination, can help to age a ring.
While newer cast replicas of older rings are hard to spot by everyday people, for jewelers they can often tell a mile away that the pieces are replicas. It's a lot like how auto collectors can tell a true antique car in excellent condition from a recent replica.
I would definitely trust the jeweler on this one.
One thing about your question that is intriguing is that you mentioned the description as "antique from 1935." If the ring has no hallmark stamps, a specific date is a clue that the person selling the ring has no idea what they are talking about. Why not from 1940, or from 1930, why did the seller mention specifically 1935?
If you look at listings for antique rings from antique jewelry specialists, you'll find that they rarely mention a specific date unless the ring has identifying hallmark stamps that can be used to date the ring. Otherwise they use language like, "Circa 1920s" or something along those lines.
I hope you are able to return your ring, if you are looking for authentic antique rings, take a look at EWR's page about antique rings to see recommendations on where to find true antique and vintage rings or EWR's Art Deco page to find out more about these types of rings and where to find them:Antique Wedding RingsArt Deco Rings
And, if at all possible, could you send pictures of your ring with any additional details about how it was described in the listing as well as where you purchased the ring from (I do not publish specific retailers, but I'm curious if it was through an online source or a local jewelry shop?). I would love to post pictures of your ring, with your comments and experience, to help future visitors to the site avoid going through the same experience that you had.
I hope this answers your questions, but do feel free to contact us again if you have any additional questions!
Suzanne GardnerEverything Wedding Rings