Bernard Instone was a designer and silversmith from Birmingham, England who had a large influence in the later British Arts and Crafts movement. Born in 1891, at just 12 years of age, Instone won a scholarship to the Birmingham School of Jewellery where he studied under Arthur Gaskin, learning silversmithing and jewelry making, excelling at everything he did. After school, he went on to work with Paul Cooper, studied in Berlin with Emil Lettre, and by 1913 he was teaching at Vittoria Street. In 1920, he set up his own works called Langstone Silver Works. He also created pieces for other jewelers such as Sibyl Dunlop using her hallmark. Instone typically didn’t sign his own work but his pieces are easily recognizable. Liberty & Co was finally able to work with him by the 1940s after putting in 25 years trying to convince him. Actively working until the mid 1960's he retired, leaving his business to his son and lived out his days with his wife Barbara in the Cotswolds. He passed on at the very respectable age of 96 in 1987.
For decades and through multiple eras in jewelry design, his work was highly regarded and remain as sought-after by collectors to this day. He was strongly influenced by nature, like in this floral-inspired piece. His designs can be put into two categories – pieces with enamel, and pieces without. This enamel ring belongs to the former. He masterfully used enamel to create fabulous floral compositions, and his work often included beautiful silver work, including leaves, flowers, intricate mounts, scrolls, and foliage.
This particular vintage Bernard Instone enamel ring was handcrafted in England around 1930, just predating his work with Liberty & Co., and has it's roots in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements that became fashionable the later part of the 19th and early 20th century. The contrasting blue enamel draws the eye, and the flowing lines of the silver work, pierced and beaded for added depth and authenticity, sit perfectly atop a slender and elegant split shank band. It's form speaks to the simplicity and beauty of nature, putting emphasis on craftsmanship and nature inspired design. The ring face measures 18 x 12 mm, it sits 2 mm off the finger and the band is 2.3 mm wide at the back. This ring is a size 7.5 and it weighs 2.8 grams. It bears the mark, “STERLING SILVER”.
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