Designed as a pair of billing doves with outstretched wings, each set with a facetted diamond to their breast, perched on a branch embellished with two white diamond-set flowers, between two larger white and blue flowerhead motifs each set with a cushion-shaped ruby, applied throughout with black, white, green and deep blue enamel, the reverse similarly enamelled with an indistinct inscription in French shorthand, only distinguishable words being 'par amour', to a fluted gold shank with black enamel, circa 1765, UK size L1/2.
Billing doves as a representation of romantic love was popular in the 18th Century (their are mid 18th century Meissen porcelain versions of this scene for example) but can be traced back to ancient times as a symbol of love and desire, and as such are associated with the goddess Venus. It is safe to presume this ring would have been given as a token of love and the word 'Amour' legible to the reverse of the doves further confirms this. The ruby is also known as a representation of love due to its colour and can be found flanking the doves in this ring.
It is incredibly rare that examples of such jewels from this period survive today, and this is a particularly elaborate example. As can be imagined, their delicate enamel work and frames mean that most are lost to the sands of time, making this little treasure all the more precious.
Hugh Tait ed., The Art of the Jeweller: a Catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift to the British Museum, London, 1984, p.77 cat no. 360, for an illustration of a ring of similar design, likely intended as a betrothal gift. British Museum accession no.1978,1002.213
A similar design by the French jeweller Maria, published in Paris circa 1765, is illustrated in Charlotte Gere, Rings from 1500-1900,
A. Ward et al., The Ring from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century, London, 1981, p. 110-111
Anna Beatriz Chadour, Ringe die Alice und Louis Koch Sammlung, Tome I P263, plate 858 Inventory Number 23.40 for a similar ring.