An Enchanting Meerschaum Ring, formed as a Cherub


Origin: English
Period: Mid Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1850
Diameter: 2 cms
Cherub Mask Height: 2cms

Imaginatively adapted from a Meerschaum pipe, the cherub head is exquisitely hand-carved, in the Gothic style, into a small ring; the strands of hair and facial features of the mask are all wonderfully rendered.

There is some small amounts of damage to note, to the bridge of the nose and to the lower chin, but the whole is in good, sound condition, with the meerschaum hardened over time. The ring size is certainly on the small size, perhaps made for a child, but it could just as easily be worn around the neck on a chain. Difficult to date, this piece of meerschaum could well be earlier than specified, with the beautiful patina well established.

Meerschaum is a German word meaning ‘sea foam’ achieving its name because it often was seen floating on the Black Sea. Meerschaum is a very soft, porous, hydrous silicate of magnesia that is found in pockets within clay or serpentine deposits. Mined with hand tools, and by men trained in this singular family tradition, meerschaum is excavated at depths ranging from 200 to 300 feet. Nearly three hundred years ago, the first meerschaum pipe was carved by hand.

This is a magical piece, in wearable condition, which screams history and mystery in equal measure the moment you set your eyes on it.