My great-grandmother, Annie, was an aspiring Gibson Girl. She and my great-grandfather met in the 1890s. She was tall, blonde, blue-eyed, wore her hair up, dressed impeccably, and in every photograph of her she was beautiful. My great-grandfather, William Cross, was a photographer, jeweler, and a master hand-engraver. He was excellent at each of these skills. In all her photographs, (and the family has dozens) she wore her hair up. It curled, swirled, and somehow her hair always managed to stay neatly, perfectly in place.
Great-grandfather William as a jeweler, made many hundreds of these Gibson Girl rings and remarkably we still have his archival collection of original masters. From William’s masters of Gibson Girl rings we’ve chosen to make two sizes, a small and a medium, we consider to be the perfect sizes, perfect look, perfect balance of the design.
Today’s revival of the Gibson Girl ring is made with a diamond, blue sapphire, ruby, green garnet, or Maine tourmaline center gem, and two accent diamonds. The size, spacing, low-profile, comfortable, finger-hugging design make these rings eternal. The finishing touch design detail that made Gibson Girl rings such classics in the late 19th century was the hand-engraving curves and swirl patterns. We have revived this style ring from one-hundred years ago and I believe that of the forty-plus years I’ve run Cross this is the prettiest, most desirable ring we’ve ever made. –RHP
Sisters (Ann Cross, Gibson Girl, center)
Pictured on a farm in Damariscotta, Maine on the lake, 1892
Halloween has passed, but indulge us in kind of ghost story… Don’t be frightened; it might not be what you would expect from a ghost story. Ghosts at their core are lingering spirits and ideas, too strong to pass on to the next station. It’s memories, that strong feeling of connection you can’t quite explain…it’s that which endures.
My great-grandfather, William, was a Renaissance man. In whatever he tried, he attained master-level skills. He met my great-grandmother, Annie, in the 1890s, as he was starting to make jewelry. Annie was a sophisticated woman, tall and slender, and every photo of her is breathtaking. Annie was a Gibson Girl in spirit. She wore her hair piled on top of her head, elegantly arranged and curled just so.
William must have been thinking of Annie when he created this ring, which we’ve revived and named the Gibson Girl ring in Annie’s honor. In the 1890s, each ring, of which he made hundreds, was hand-engraved. A popular style of the day. Three stones set low, surrounded by swirling engraved patterns, make for a very beautiful, balanced ring. Feminine and bold; contemporary and traditional; the Gibson Girl ring evoked the spirit of the real-life Gibson Girl William married.
William Cross, Linwood Cross, Ann Cross, 1903
William passed away in 1931, his wife and son continued his work and the store he started in 1908, Cross Jewelers has remained in his family to this day. William’s influence still floats through the showrooms and showcases, in the many designs he originated and which have been adapted or revived. His prolific work and eye for design have meant that thousands of people across the country own his designs. His work has stood for generations.
The Gibson Girl ring, in particular, is a testament to William’s enduring influence. For all the people who have owned a Gibson Girl ring since it was designed, the original labor of love, in designing the hand-engraved patterns and setting exquisite stones, creating something so beautiful that has brought joy to so many people, shows his lasting presence in what we do. In that sense, the Gibson Girl ring is our kind of ghost story, as William’s artistry lives on in each design. ECP (5th Generation of Cross Family)
I’ve run Cross Jewelers for 45 years. Once in my 45 years, I bought a Gibson Girl ring in a family estate. I was thrilled to have the opportunity but also realized that having dealt in thousands of pieces of antique estate jewelry, that never before had any individual or family ever parted with one. It surprised me and yet, I understood the design to be pure magic. When a family is ready to part with pieces of jewelry from an important collection. Someone raises their hand and says I would like this ring. I understand the appeal. I bought my first Gibson Girl ring 15 years ago, a ruby and diamond ring. The moment I bought it I thought, finally, I’ve landed one of these rings. I decided on the spot, I would never sell it. Great beauty does that to you. It’s now part of the Cross permanent collection of fine jewelry.
I had the ring for two years, then one day while looking through William Cross’ archival collection of ring masters from the early 19th century, I suddenly realized that there before me were dozens of Gibson Girl ring masters. No one had recognized them because they were casting masters without the engraving. We selected two, a small and a medium, cast them, and several weeks later we gathered around astounded as we looked upon this new World’s prettiest ring.
As you can imagine, in the intervening years this has become a deeply loved, profoundly adored ring. We consider it a privilege and honor to be the maker of this, the World’s prettiest ring. If you acquire one of these rings, know that you may wear it a lifetime and someone in your family when it comes time someday will say I’d like to have that ring, and the ring is on its way to stay in your family forever.
Why this ring is so loved, its low finger-hugging profile makes it supremely comfortable. Green Maine tourmaline and diamonds are flush set, recessed, no prongs, smooth, solid, safe, secure. Three gems are a magic number, big green Maine tourmaline in the middle, small diamonds on the east and west sides. The relationship of the three is easy on the eye, countable with certainty, creates enough visual diversity to draw the eye back for a second and third look. It draws you in, it’s captivating. The 1890’s held the last remains of the Victorian Era in furniture, homes, clothing, everything was highly decorated. The Gibson Girl ring was no exception with fiddlehead-esque swirls and curls laced around the ring.
Maine Tourmaline, A Maine Story
An American Gem
First discovered in 1820 and in subsequent finds over the years, these early discoveries put Maine on the world map as a source for high-quality tourmaline gems. A major discovery in 1972 on Plumbago Mountain in Newry, Maine established Maine as a significant world source of fine tourmaline gemstones.
Cross recognized the historical significance of this find and began working closely with the miners of these magnificent gems. The close partnership continues today with the ongoing discoveries in Maine’s western mountains.
We go to Maine’s gem mines. We know the miners. We know the gem cutters. We guarantee our tourmaline to be from Maine and is 100% natural. Cross maintains the largest collection of fine Maine tourmaline jewelry in the world.
Window of Opportunity
Fifty years have passed since the major 1972 tourmaline find in Newry, Maine where they found 3.5 million carats of tourmaline crystals. Over the years we bought more than we sold knowing that gem finds don’t last forever. There are now colors, sizes, and shapes that are extremely rare and, in some cases, no longer available. If you see something you love it’s best to act quickly. There’s no guarantee another gem like this one exists.
Case in point: In 2007 there was a find of tourmaline in Newry, Maine called Eureka Blue. People loved the color. The gems sold quickly, but the find was small and the mining only lasted a few seasons. Within three years of the discovery, all the large Eureka gems had sold. We still get calls from people who are now ready to buy. What they want, however, simply no longer exists from that find in 2007.
Gem finds are rare, especially in North America. Maine tourmaline is a piece of Maine and American history, it’s a connection to a place we all love, an exquisite creation of nature. Today, there is a rare opportunity to own a bit of Maine/American pride and heritage, and history in choosing a piece of Maine tourmaline jewelry.
Orders Under $1,000 – Free shipping via FedEx (allow 4 business days). You can upgrade to overnight delivery for $20.
Orders Over $1,000 require a signature on delivery. You may choose free FedEx Overnight or US Post Office Express.
Rings that need to be sized take extra time (one week). If ordering a ring, you may select, “No Sizing Yet, Ship Right Away” and your order will arrive according to the shipping schedule shown above.
Curbside Pickup is also Available – please give us a call to place your order.
Orders Over $1,000 – Ship Free by your choice of FedEx Overnight or US Post Office Express. A signature is required on delivery.
Our extended ninety days, for a small business, is almost unheard of. Truth is, we shop for gifts too, and rather than scrambling at the last minute and feeling the tension of time, we like this more relaxed approach. We wish everyone did something like this… it would be a kinder, gentler world.