Ostby Barton rings have become quite popular among antique jewelry collectors in recent years. These rings were produced by the Ostby Barton company which operated between 1914 and 1990. Dating these rings can be tricky but there are some tips and tricks you can use to determine the approximate age.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Look for hallmarks, check the ring style and design, examine the markings, and research the company history. Together these clues can help narrow down the date range of your Ostby Barton ring.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the process of dating Ostby Barton rings by looking at hallmarks, analyzing ring designs, decoding markings, and tracing the history of the company. With some detective work, you can zero in on the era your ring was produced.
Examine the Hallmarks
When dating an Ostby Barton ring, one of the first steps is to examine the hallmarks. Hallmarks are small markings found on the inside of the ring band that can provide valuable information about the ring’s origin and age.
These hallmarks can include symbols, letters, or numbers that indicate the metal type, manufacturer, and other important details.
Decode the Metal Hallmarks
The first hallmark to look for is the metal hallmark. This will tell you what type of metal the ring is made from, whether it’s gold, silver, platinum, or another precious metal. Common metal hallmarks include 925 for sterling silver and 14k or 18k for gold.
If the ring is made from a different metal, such as platinum, it may have a different hallmark. Consulting a reputable jewelry reference book or website, like GIA, can help you decode the various metal hallmarks and determine the exact metal used in the ring.
Look for an EB Mark
In addition to the metal hallmark, another important hallmark to look for on an Ostby Barton ring is the EB mark. EB stands for Engelhard & Barton, the company founded by Anders Ostby and Nathan Barton, who were renowned jewelers in the early 20th century.
The presence of an EB mark indicates that the ring was manufactured by Ostby Barton and adds to its historical significance and value. Keep in mind that not all Ostby Barton rings may have the EB mark, as some early pieces may not have been marked.
If you’re unsure about the authenticity of the ring, it’s always best to consult with a professional jeweler or antique expert.
Analyze the Ring Style and Design
When it comes to dating an Ostby Barton ring, one of the first steps is to analyze the ring’s style and design. This can give you valuable insights into the time period in which it was created and help you determine its historical significance.
Let’s take a closer look at some key elements to consider:
Art Deco Styles Point to 1920s-1930s
If you come across an Ostby Barton ring with intricate geometric patterns, bold colors, and symmetrical designs, chances are it belongs to the Art Deco era, which was popular during the 1920s and 1930s.
Art Deco rings often feature bold gemstones such as emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, set in platinum or white gold. The clean lines and symmetrical shapes of these rings make them truly iconic.
Mid-Century Modern Signals 1940s-1960s
The Mid-Century Modern style emerged in the post-World War II era, spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s. If you come across an Ostby Barton ring with sleek, minimalist designs, it is likely from this time period.
Mid-Century Modern rings often feature simple bands and settings, with emphasis on the beauty of the gemstone itself. Popular gemstones during this era include diamonds, pearls, and aquamarines.
Understated Bands Suggest 1970s-1990s
If you notice an Ostby Barton ring with a more understated design, featuring a plain band and a focus on the center stone, it may belong to the 1970s-1990s era. During this time, simplicity and elegance were key.
Rings from this era often feature classic gemstones like diamonds, rubies, and sapphires set in yellow or rose gold. These rings exude a timeless beauty that is still cherished today.
By analyzing the style and design of an Ostby Barton ring, you can gain valuable insights into its historical significance and the period in which it was created. Remember to take into account other factors such as the materials used and any hallmarks or engravings that may provide further clues.
Check the Markings
When it comes to dating an Ostby Barton ring, one of the most important things to do is to check the markings on the ring. These markings can provide valuable clues about the ring’s age, origin, and materials used.
By understanding what these markings mean, you can gain insight into the history and value of the ring.
Stamped Numbers Provide Clues
One type of marking to look for on an Ostby Barton ring is stamped numbers. These numbers can indicate the ring’s size, purity of the metal, or even the manufacturer’s mark. For example, a “925” stamp on the inside of the ring indicates that it is made of sterling silver, while a “14K” stamp indicates that it is made of 14 karat gold.
By familiarizing yourself with the different stampings used by Ostby Barton, you can better understand the characteristics of the ring you are dating.
Abbreviations Point to Metal Type
Another important marking to pay attention to is abbreviations that indicate the type of metal used in the ring. For example, “PT” stands for platinum, “SS” stands for stainless steel, and “GF” stands for gold-filled.
These abbreviations can give you valuable information about the composition of the ring and can help you determine its authenticity and value.
It’s worth noting that the specific markings used by Ostby Barton may vary depending on the time period in which the ring was produced. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to consult reference materials or reputable websites such as Antique Jewelry Mall or Lang Antiques for more information on the specific markings used during different eras.
Trace the History of Ostby Barton
If you’re interested in dating an Ostby Barton ring, it’s important to understand the history behind this iconic jewelry brand. Ostby Barton was founded in 1914 in Providence, Rhode Island by two Norwegian immigrants, Engelhart C. Ostby and Nathan B. Barton.
The company quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality jewelry with intricate designs and exceptional craftsmanship.
Founded in 1914 in Providence, RI
Ostby Barton started as a small jewelry workshop in Providence, RI, with a focus on creating unique and elegant pieces. Engelhart Ostby and Nathan Barton shared a passion for jewelry-making and their dedication paid off as their business began to flourish.
The company gained recognition for its attention to detail and commitment to using only the finest materials.
During this time, Ostby Barton primarily produced rings, including engagement rings, wedding bands, and fashion rings. Their designs were characterized by intricate filigree work, delicate gemstone settings, and a blend of classic and Art Nouveau influences.
Expanded Production in Mid-20th Century
In the mid-20th century, Ostby Barton expanded its production and started catering to a wider market. The company introduced new designs and experimented with different materials, including gold, silver, and platinum.
This expansion allowed Ostby Barton to reach a larger audience and establish itself as a leading jewelry brand.
During this period, Ostby Barton became known for its stunning gemstone rings, including those featuring diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. The company’s commitment to quality remained unwavering, and each piece was meticulously crafted to perfection.
Closed Doors in 1990
Unfortunately, in 1990, tragedy struck the Ostby Barton company. Engelhart Ostby, one of the founders, was aboard the Titanic when it sank in 1912. His son, Harold Ostby, took over the business after his father’s passing and continued to run it successfully for many years.
However, in 1990, the company faced financial difficulties and ultimately had to close its doors.
Even though Ostby Barton is no longer in operation, their jewelry continues to be highly sought after by collectors and vintage jewelry enthusiasts. The craftsmanship and beauty of Ostby Barton rings make them a cherished piece of history and a testament to the talent of their creators.
If you’re lucky enough to come across an Ostby Barton ring, it’s not only a stunning piece of jewelry but also a piece of history that carries the legacy of a once-thriving jewelry brand.
With some detective work examining hallmarks, design elements, markings, and company history, you can get a good idea of when your Ostby Barton ring was produced. Focus on the style, metal stamps, and any production codes first.
Then confirm your date estimate by cross-checking with the operational history of Ostby Barton. Dating vintage jewelry takes practice, but the clues are there. Reference guides and resources can help you fine-tune your dating skills.