Comments for What Does This Antique Hallmark - JWB Mean? How Old Is This Ring?

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JWB and Victorian Snake Engagement Rings
by: Anonymous

Hi John!

thank you for your patience! Yes, you are absolutely correct. The Fine Silver and Goldsmiths - JAMES WILLIAM BENSON used the initials JWB from the 1870s to the 1950s.

The date letter is the "fancy U" you mentioned. You can easily search this mark yourself and find the exact year. In the link Researching British Hallmarks Click on the link titled "Birmingham Date Letters: 1773 - 1924 & Maker's Marks" . The date letter chart appears in the top right hand side of the page.

The snake motif was used throughout the Victorian period. When Albert presented Victoria with her Engagement Ring, it was designed as a snake with EMERALD eyes. The emerald was Victoria's birthstone and it was popular in the Victorian period to have one's birthstone set in the engagement ring.

DeBeers and its advertising agency, AW Ayers, are responsible for the Diamond becoming the symbol of "forever". Buyers assuming that diamonds are the "correct" stone for the engagement ring. History however, does not support this view...

Take a more recent example, the famous engagement ring of Diana, Princess of Wales, given to Kate Middleton by Prince William, Diana's eldest son on the 17th November, 2010. The engagement ring is set with a BLUE SAPPHIRE.

We know your antique snake ring must be older than 1870, which was the year JWB registered the mark at the Birmingham assay office.

The fancy date letter "U" registered at the Birmingham assay office (anchor symbol) in the Victorian period, after 1870 leads us to a date letter with a fancy U in the year 1894.

Happy Hunting!
Yvonne Hammouda-Eyre





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