Dating to c.300 BCE, this Illyrian silver ring is a rare example of the jewelry of the peoples of the ancient Balkans, and is strong enough for gentle wear by a discerning 21st-century collector! Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the native peoples, the Illyrians, from roughly 600 BCE until the 2nd century BCE, by which time it was governed by Rome. The earliest recorded Illyrian kingdom was that of the Enchele in the 8th century BC, but the era in which we observe other Illyrian kingdoms begins approximately at 400 BC and ends at 167 BC. The most notable Illyrian kingdoms and dynasties were those of Bardyllis of the Dardani and of Agron of the Ardiaei who created the last and best-known Illyrian kingdom c.200 BCE. (The Illyrian kingdoms were composed of small areas within the region of Illyria. Only the Romans ruled the entire region.)
Known in modern archaeology as the "Illyrian Celts," the Illyrians were expert weapon-makers and jewelers, and Illyrian pirates often plundered parts of ancient Greece and southern Spain for silver and other precious goods. This ring is classic Illyrian in design, and was discovered in a hoard of silver unearthed in Spain over 30 years ago. This example is remarkable for its amazing condition; it was discovered along with a group of silver coins dating to the late 4th c. BCE as well as silver rings and bracelets, and as such, was likely buried in a pottery vessel, as it is remarkable well-preserved and 100% intact. The motif is that of two dolphins; the dolphin was considered a guardian of the seafaring Ilyrians.
Two dolphins meet at the center of the bezel, their eyes represented by typical punch marks, and their front fins extended. This ring is wrought from high-grade silver, and boasts a terrific matte burial patina without the corrosion cracks and damage one sees so often in excavated silver. As with most ancient Western World rings of this era, this ring is slightly "D shaped," it is not out of round, but was created in this style. It will fit a size 7 finger, and CANNOT be re-sized; to do so would destroy the integrity and value of this important and historic jewel. Suitable for gentle wear by a lady or a gentleman, this ring is the only Illyrian example of its kind I have discovered in over 15 years, and I cannot recommend it highly enough! A substantial ring, it weighs in at 5.08 grams.
Illyrian jewelry rarely comes to the open market; a quick Google search only turns up images from those pieces held in museum collections. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a 2300-year-old treasure; if you collect the ULTIMATE in ancient jewelry, this ring belongs on your hand and in your collection! It would also make a fabulous holiday gift for any lady or gentleman fascinated with the ancient Illyrian people, and will be shipped in a gift box. As with all of my jewelry pre-dating 1700, this ring will be sold with a COA and valuation for your insurance purposes at no extra charge. Do not miss this beautiful artifact; up to 60-day layaway is available, and USPS Priority mail shipping is FREE!
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