A very fine example of a European medieval decorative ring, dating from 1150 to 1250, approximately. The hoop meets a rectangular "pie dish" bezel set with a cabochon of emerald green glass, possibly Roman. Medieval jewels were usually made with gold recycled from old Roman jewels, with stones imported from the East. Precious gems were just that – rare and difficult to come by, traveling over the trade routes from India through Turkey to Venice or Genoa.
This ring may have belonged to someone in the middle or merchant class, someone wealthy enough to afford the gold, but not a precious gem. It's possible the `gem' is part of an old Roman glass bead, given its slightly beveled edges and convex shape. The shoulders are decorated with markings that evoke the tops of columns in gothic architecture.
The hoop, though well shaped, has some minor dents and joins the bezel slightly unevenly. Other marks suggest that it was cast in two pieces and then soldered together. File marks are visible from the inside. Unmarked, the ring tests as 16k gold, generally, though the gold content differs at different points tested, at one point as high as 20k+, at another closer to 16k. In excellent condition, the ring shows all the markings of a handmade piece of medieval jewelry, with minor nicks and scratches consistent with its 800 to 900 years of age.
Refer to pages 238 – 239 of Diana Scarisbrick's Rings: Symbols of Power, Love and Loyalty (c2007) for similar examples.
The bezel measures 8mm x 5mm x 5mm
Gross weight: 3.9 grams
Size 6 ½ US