James Yesberger silver animal rings


I have adored the stunning animal rings made by Maine silversmith James Yesberger since the 1980s. I first discovered his work when I lived in the USA in the 1980s. His rings are solid and heavy (about 16 – 20g per ring), which I really like because I like weight and heft on my fingers. Heavy chunky jewellery is not for everyone I know, but I am not a fan of delicate dainty jewellery. One of my rings, bought in India, weighs almost 140g! It is an articulated tiger ring that wraps over the tip of my middle finger and goes all the way back over my knuckles. Not an everyday ring in other words…

My favourite Yesberger rings are the animal ones. He has such a feel for animals – cats in particular – and there are always little extra details on these rings such as cute little kitty paw pads, hippo teeth, fur on the underside of the leopard and (my favourite), a prince on the other side of the frog! Apart from his sleeping cats, his hippos always have such great expressions on their faces!

Unfortunately, because James Yesberger no longer produces rings, they are becoming increasingly rare, harder to find in good condition, and the prices have rocketed.

Here is the frog and prince one. It is my absolute favourite. As I mentioned though, pristine examples are becoming harder to find, and in many cases you find that the prince inside the frog has had all his coat details rubbed off. They are also often missing the artist’s mark and the hallmark.










And some of the other animals.

































And two bracelets, also by Yesberger


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

19 thoughts

  1. Oh my goodness! That is my ring! When I was graduating from college in the late 80s my aunt bought me the frog prince ring as a gift. I was leaving for New York City, and she said she hoped I would find my prince there. Lo, and behold, I did! We have been married 30 years, and I still have her ring. I don’t know anything about the artist, just knew that it was a fun and unique ring. I was trying to find some information on it, and stumbled upon your blog. Thanks so much for providing some information. Sadly, it looks like there are some knock offs now with less than modest adaptations.

  2. Hi! I stumbled on yr blog after looking up james yesberger, as i just realized i have one his rings! I purchased it several years ago at an antique/rummage shop for $3.50! At first i actually bought it for the weight of the silver, before i realized it was this super awesomely beautiful unicorn that fit my ring finger perfectly, even though the ring is not perfectly round. So i kept it, and researched it since im an artist myself and was working at a gallery. I found little to nothing about it, never saw an image of one like it until this morning, almost a decade later! I saw the horse ring on ebay and thought it looked extremely similar to my unicorn ring…and so here i am! Im curious if he had an actual website that you may know of? Any information of the artist himself would also be grately appreciated! And i really enjoy yr page! Thanks so much for all the info and images. i realize this is also from years back, so…
    Anyways, hope all is magic and wonderful!

    1. You are so so lucky to have a James Yesberger ring – and to have found it at such a bargain price! Did you see what they are selling for on eBay??? I don’t think he had a website as his glory days were in the 1980s as far as I remember. These days his rings are a very niche area – unless you are in the know, most people in thrift stores/pawn shops/antique shops don’t recognise them for what they are. The high prices on eBay are testament to his popularity though.

  3. Thank you for these pictures. I am a proud owner of his Black Panther Ring. However the black oxidization has worn of now and it is just silver.

  4. Beautiful site! I am the proud owner of a leopard bracelet signed by James Yesberger. It is numbered 84/1000 with the date of 1986 and is a very heavy silver sterling bracelet.
    I would be interested in knowing your suggestion on how to have it appraised? Maybe suggest on how I could offer it for sale.
    Thanks for your. comments.

    1. Not sure if I replied to this one, sorry, so forgive me if I am repeating myself! Yesberger is a niche market so it may be difficult having it appraised by a regular jewellery. However, they do go for huge sums on eBay and Etsy so I would suggest listing on there. Take previous or present listings as an example of pricing, and see how it goes. Good photographs are a must, as well as information on weight, size etc. Good luck!!!

  5. I’ve just stumbled on your blog. This made me run to my jewelry box. And I realized I own one of his rings, the hippo with the open mouth. I bought it on ebay, a couple of years ago, for a couple of $. I don’t think the seller could decipher the hallmark and I just bought it because I like unusual rings. BTW I love your jewelry blog and will read more when I have time. I love large and unusual jewelry.

  6. Hi

    Do you know if Yesberger ever made his rings in bronze?

    I have a ring that is identical to the sleeping cat in your first photo. But it is bronze, and it is not signed. I bought it from a seller at the Ann Arbor Art fair in Michigan, would have been in the mid- to late-80’s. The seller had these rings in both silvertone and bronze (I say silvertone because I don’t know if it was sterling, nickel or what).

    I have tried to find out if mine is an unsigned Yesberger to no avail. To be completely honest, I wish I had bought it in the silvertone because I just don’t wear goldtone, ever. If this were a rare, unsigned bronze Yesberger, I’d almost be willing to ask someone selling it in silver if they would trade!

    Any input as far as the authenticity/history of Yesberger? Would he have ever been selling at a street art fair during that time period? I’d really appreciate some help. Thanks!

    1. Yesberger did work in bronze (not sure how often though) and he did sell at fairs and markets in the 1970s. I have a photo somewhere of his work at a market in Baltimore in 1977. I am not sure if his work has always been signed but you never know. Early Pandora charms were not signed by the maker either. You sound like you may have a treasure in your possession!

      1. Oh, wow. Thanks for the fast response! I sent a message via his webpage years ago, but he (or whomever handles his website) didn’t reply. I’d be happy to send you a photo if there was a way I could upload or email it to you.

      2. I just found that he didn’t patent his trademark stamp until 1987. I graduated high school in 1986, and I know I bought my ring before that. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t already USING that signature stamp, but it’s good evidence that I might actually have a genuine, unsigned piece.


  7. i stumbled on his store in the 80S in Providence town and managed to purchased two of the griffin rings the unicorn which I have 2 a cat ring a frog pin and two signed bracelets which were limited edition of 100 made One is a Gigantic cat which I think is 4 ounces and to big to actually ware on the wrist and the other is a lion bracelet I dont think I paid more than $90 – $125 each. I was going to get that wizard ring and a witch on a broomstick ring but put them back!!! DAM!! I saw the wizard ring above here I have not seen that ring since I would love to buy it if anyone has it. I believe the wizard ring in the store was $90 as was the griffins .If I have known better but as they say who knew? lol Alan Baginski Brooklyn New York

  8. I am so happy to have found your website. I own a frog prince ring that I found in a pawn shop. I am not sure what “pristine” condition entails, but all the details on the prince are clear as well as the artist stamp. What is “screamingly expensive”?

  9. Wonderful! I’m assuming you own the frog/prince one? What about the others? Any chance of a photograph of the Indian tiger ring? All the very best for 2017.

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