In the romantic era of the 1750s to the early 1900s, some the most admired jewellery items to both give and receive, were gem set pieces designed to spell sentimental words such as “Regard” and “Dearest”.
These words were acronyms, spelled using the first letter of each gemstone, for example, “REGARD” was spelled using an R for ruby, E for emerald, G for garnet, A for amethyst, R for ruby again and D for diamond. The word DEAREST was illustrated by using a D for diamond, E for emerald, A for amethyst, R for ruby, E for emerald, S for sapphire and T for tourmaline.
These love sentiments were incorporated into various items of jewellery including rings, brooches and lockets.
The Late Georgian “REGARD” ring pictured below is a very interesting example, as it is richly layered in metaphor. The floral posy design with the word “REGARD" spelled out in gems is held by clasped hands which is a motif borrowed from the traditional Irish Claddagh ring. The brooch, more simply, has the word “REGARD” embossed decoratively on its face and hides a small locket in the back, perfect for a lock of hair or a hand painted portrait.