1920s BELAIS 18K White Gold Wedding Band or Stacking Ring, with a Subtle Maple Seed Pattern

Period: mid-1920s; early Art Deco

Material: unplated 18K white gold

Marks: the ring is stamped “BELAIS” and hand-inscribed in an ornate script, “W.C. to L.H. 5-10-27”.

Historical tidbit: human beings have been playing with gold alloys for millenia. There was a surge of effort in the late 1800s to create a "white" gold, but attempts usually fell short (though we seriously love early white gold pieces, which tend to take on a faint patina over time). Then, in 1917, David Belais, founder of the Belais Manufacturing Company, invented (discovered?) a formula for creating a stable white gold by adding zinc and nickel to pure gold. Viola! He had done it, and--feeling that he had just changed the jewelry manufacturing paradigm--he filed for a patent in 1918. It was issued in 1920. But the patent was challenged and ultimately overturned in 1925, with the presiding judge declaring that the manipulation of an alloy does not constitute an invention (see my confused parenthetical aside a few sentences back). The ruling survived appeal in 1926 and thus the proverbial floodgates were opened. Alloying efforts by Belais and others enabled jewelers across the globe to start producing white gold pieces in ernest, a trend that survives to this day. 

Also: David Belais seems to have been a pretty stand-up dude, as he's perhaps best known for establishing the Humane Society of New York in 1904, and for his role in founding the Humane Society's first free animal clinic. What a guy. 

Dimensions: the band measures approx. 2.00 mm wide north to south; it stands 1.20 mm tall above the finger

Size: 6 1/2 (contact us for sizing information)




Item TS462