This appears to be just an antique man's costume ring, of inexpensive base metal with a gold-tone plating and a cut glass gem.
But peek over the side, and a tiny peephole appears. And when you peer inside. . . .
a voluptuous belle appears in all her bare beauty (the picture is actually a full length nude, and very clear, but this is the best photograph I could take through the tiny peephole). Beneath this ring's false diamond is a hidden gem, an early erotic Stanhope novelty. John Benjamin Dancer, in 1851, invented a way to produce minute microphotographs that could be viewed only by using a microscope. In 1857, Rene Dagon improved upon Dancer's invention by placing the microphotograph under a modified Stanhope lens (a Stanhope lens is a simple microscope consisting of a glass cylinder with convex ends). Stanhope viewers soon became popular with the public. Tourists could purchase a wide variety of novelties and charms containing souvenir pictures of the sites they had just seen, rosaries and crosses enclosed tiny scrolls bearing the "Lord's Prayer," and portraits of the famous could be found encased in everything from thimble holders to pipes. And some of those little Stanhope peepholes revealed very private peepshows of nubile nudes or scantily-clad sirens. I can image a man, sharing brandy and cigars with a few close buddies, slipping off this ring and saying, "Hey, fellas, take a look at this!"
Miniature binoculars were popular holders for Stanhopes. Usually inside were pictures of popular tourist attractions, such as various views of Niagara Falls or Parisian landmarks. This petite pair, just under an inch in height, is carved out of bone.
Inside, they picture a completely different type of attraction, two attractive bathing beauties.
The actual pictures are much clearer, but again, these are the best photographs I could take through the little lenses. Along the edge of each picture is the caption "Made in France."