Monday, October 27, 2014

You & Me, Forever Together We Will Be

Ok, I think we've established by now that I'm the sentimental sort.  What I've noticed from my personal experiences, and in conversations with other bling lovers, is that the people who gravitate towards vintage and antique styles all tend to be at least a little sentimental.  Like me, they love the history of each piece and the lives that they touched.

Well, personally, I think that nothing is a more sentimental a piece of jewelry than an engagement ring or wedding band.  The wedding set is a symbol.  A merging of two people.  A promise.  A future prediction.  A forever.  And nothing says "forever together," more than a Toi et Moi ring.  It quite literally, translates to "You and Me."

And the most famous Toi et Moi ring?


The golden ring that Napoleon Bonaparte gave Josephine is in an 18th century setting called "Toi et Moi," with opposing pear-shaped gemstones - a blue sapphire & a diamond.  The carat weight of the two gems is just under a carat each.  The ring sold at auction in March 2013 for $949,000 - more 50 times the estimated $20,000 it was valued at - to an anonymous bidder.

Napoleon met Josephine, (Rose Tascher de la Pagerie as she was known then) in September 1795. She was 32 years old, six years older than Bonaparte. At the time she was the rich and stylish widow of Alexandre de Beauharnais, an aristocrat who supported the French Revolution but died on the guillotine. Her first marriage produced two children, Eugene and Hortense, who Napoleon later adopted.  According to Napoleon's memoirs written during his excile at St. Helena, he met Josephine when her son Eugene came to ask him for the right to keep his father's sword. Napoleon said yes, and Josephine invited him to her apartment in Paris to thank him. Napoleon was immediately smitten, and within the first couple months of their relationship had fallen completely in love with her.  The wedding day was March 9, 1796.

Since Napoleon and Josephine's time, the Toi et Moi style has seen it's popularity come and go.  More recently, however, it has come back into fashion with the resurgence in the popularity of vintage styles and more brides choosing antique wedding sets rather than opting for new designs.  


According to People Magazine, in 2009, Dean McDermott gave wife, Tori Spelling, an antique French ring consists of a round white diamond & a fancy round yellow diamond set side-by-side in the Toi et Moi fashion from jeweler Neil Lane for their anniversary.  Since then, the style has continued to see a surge in popularity.

Toi et Moi rings come in a variety setting styles and are sometimes referred to as Bypass rings because of the how the centers stones seem to bypass one another, sitting side-by-side.  Different examples of the various vintage and antique settings can be seen below:


This Tiffany & Co., circa 1920s, Emerald & Diamond Bypass Toi et Moi Ring in 18k yellow gold features a square, emerald cut natural bright museum quality emerald weighing approximately .37cts & a beautiful .56ct old European cut diamond. The emerald is gem quality & eye-clean. The diamond has the quality grade of G color, VS2 clarity.  What a great piece of history & it shows that the stones don't have to identical in cut or type.


This is a spectacular, original Art Nouveau Diamond Toi Et Moi ring in Platinum & 14K Gold from Green Pines, $1,800.  What I love about this ring is how the larger diamonds are accents by the pave stones and the typical Art Nouveau swirl.   A very stunning piece!


This 1880's Victorian 1.38ct Antique Old European cut Diamond Toi et Moi Engagement Ring in 14K Yellow Gold from Treasurly by Dima is another beautiful antique example of the style.  It also demonstrates perfectly why the Toi et Moio rings are sometimes referred to as a Bypass ring.  See how the center stones are just barely off-set from one another, like they're dancing?


Platinum 2.56tcw Old Mine Cut Diamond Moi et Toi Ring from Jewels by Grace, $5,375.  This is one of the most beautiful Moi et Toi rings that I've seen recently.  The detail work in the shank is amazing & very stylistic.  

I think this historical setting is the perfect, classic engagement ring and is even versatile enough to be a fabulous right hand ring!  The perfect one is definitely on my Wish List!





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