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However, in the late 18th century writers and artists began to see the benefits of pet ownership and assigned them a new moral value -- making keeping domestic animals culturally acceptable for the masses. Pets became seen as character and morality building for young children as well as a necessity for a happy home. Dogs were the preferred pet of choice among Victorians because they were viewed as loyal, steadfast and courageous. Pedigree and exotic dog breeds also were sought after as a symbol of wealth and social status.
Queen Victoria herself was known to have quite the fondness for pomeranians following a chance encounter with the fluffy breed during a visit to Florence, Italy in 1888 -- so much so that she added four to the royal household!
Given the Queen's proclivity for being a trend setter, it wasn't long before pomeranians became one of the most fashionable toy breeds in England.
As pets became more integrated into everyday Victorian life, it's no surprise that these beloved animals became immortalized in many jewelry pieces of the era.
However, this striking ring is more special than most.
While it was quite common to see the likeness of man's best friend eternalized in Essex crystal jewelry during the 19th century, enamel pet portrait miniatures such as this were few and very far between. In fact, very few examples exist.
Perhaps because creating tiny enamel portraits was a meticulously planned, painstaking and expensive process that very few could afford. This was most likely a commissioned piece to commemorate a very special companion.
Portrait is set in a simple 9k gold setting.
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