This rare antique signet ring is, quite remarkably, made from steel. It's a good size and weight, made in Prussia around 1860. The face features an intaglio carving of the Bożawola coat of arms: a crescent moon and horseshoe, under crowned knight's helm. It's a great look - with a 15k rose gold inner band so it can be worn comfortably against the skin.
Iron and steel jewellery was popularised in the early 19th Century, when the Prussian royal family encouraged people to trade in their gold and silver jewellery to help fund the war effort (against Napoleon). They would receive iron jewellery in return, often with the inscription Gold gab ich für Eisen (I gave gold for iron), and so it became both fashionable and patriotic to wear such pieces. Although the 1850s saw a decline in production, steel and iron jewellery continued to be made and worn until the end of the century.
MEASUREMENTS Head: 14.2 x 11.7mm - Rise: 4.9mm - Width of band: 5.6mm
MARKS No marks present, modelled in Steel and 15k Gold (tests)
CONDITION Very good, some light tarnish - could be polished to a high shine
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Fine English Antique and Vintage Jewellery
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