It was a Saturday night after dinner, my sister and I were hanging out in front of the TV when she showed me a silver ring of hers that she had bought at one of her favorite fleamarkets many years ago. She had got herself a loupe some time ago and was curious what the marks in her ring meant.
Of course we both knew the 835 meant the content of silver. Nowadays jewelry is usually sterling silver which is marked 925, but I still have 835 silver jewelry myself from my teenage days. It means that 835/1000 silver was used, the rest was copper and nickel.
Next was the F with the star which we found online as the mark of W. Frey & Co. from Pforzheim, a city which is famous for its jewelry manufacturing and is even called "City of Gold" because of it. The company itself does not exist anymore, however.
What was that last mark, though? It was hard to read and it took me several attempts turning the ring this and that way under the loupe, taking my glasses off, putting them back on until I suddenly had the luck to get just the right angle to see it was a cursive "Ln" with a semicircle around it.
You know it is, once you know what you are looking at, it springs out at you, and my sister saw it, too.
And what did it mean? An online search took me to several sites - and to the Laurin mark.
The Laurin mark was a seal of quality that was used on jewelry manufactured between ca. 1934 and 1938. It got its name from Laurin, the King of Dwarves.
The campaign was supposed to instill trust in the marked jewelry and thus animate people to buy. It was not meant for cheap jewelry for which buyers didn't expect a guarantee nor expensive pieces, but for those in between.
All German manufacturers who accepted the given quality standards were allowed to use the Laurin mark on their jewelry.
Back to my sister's ring. The stone in the beautiful blue of an aquamarine is quite probably synthetic which obviously wasn't unusual for these times and until the 50s. To be able to tell the date and place of the ring's manufacturing like this, however, was really something, and above all it's a beautiful ring after all.
Now I wonder what stories it would be able to tell us if it could speak .....
While I found several pictures and short mentions of the mark, on auction sites for example, this was where I have found the most information so far (thank you to Antikschmuck Hofer for that!). For those who are not familiar with German and don't want to use an online translator - there are two advertisements for jewelry with the Laurin mark - one of them depicting the above mentioned King of Dwarves - and an article from a journal explaining the meaning of the Laurin campaign.
I also found this thread in a silver forum, this one's in English.
If I can find more eventually, I'll update this post.
A Steiff Mystery of Olympic Proportions
12 hours ago