There’s an ancient answer to that age-old question of what Christmas gift to buy for the man or woman who has everything. We have a select assortment of ancient rings, rivalling those collections seen in museums. However, unlike those kept behind glass, these are wearable and available to purchase. These fascinating pieces would make truly memorable Christmas gifts for those who like to set themselves apart.
For the gents we have a remarkable Roman Legionnaire’s gold ring, dating from between the 1st and 2nd Century AD. This flat-banded ring is inscribed on the outer surface with five repeating ‘XIII’ symbols, almost certainly referring to one of the most prominent Roman Legions, ‘Legio XIII Gemina’, once led by Julius Caesar and which made the famous crossing of the Rubicon River in 49BC. (Reference: 19290)
For the man who likes to indulge, we have a Roman gold signet ring with an oval bezel engraved with a full-length profile of a satyr (a woodland deity in human form with goat’s ears, tail and horns), with a cane and wine sack, formed on a tapered rounded shank, circa 1st – 2nd century AD. In Roman mythology, satyrs were a troop of male companions of Bacchus, the god of wine. (Reference: 16352)
We also have ancient intaglio rings for the ladies. For example our 2nd to 3rd century AD carved cornelian of the goddess Minerva holding a spear, and framed by granulated gold. Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom, the arts and defence. (Reference: 18710) Ancient earrings and necklaces are also available to buy and make truly special gifts. (Reference: 18264 and 18270).
Moving on to the 17th century during the reign of the Stuarts, we have a man’s gold signet ring. Its flat circular bezel is engraved with intricate depictions of grapes and foliage with the initials ‘H.A’. (Reference: 18271) And for the ladies, there is our impressive 44-inch Georgian gold chain. Its textured links are arranged in clusters and form an intricate lightweight chain, with a barrel clasp decorated with floral motifs. This important piece of jewellery would make a fabulous statement and is wonderfully worked. (Reference: 19110)
We also hold an early 16th Century ruby ring, similar to one seen in a portrait of Queen Elizabeth of Austria, dating from 1571. The gold setting is carved to resemble foliage and the ring, discovered in Leicestershire in 2012 and declared as treasure trove, is extremely rare, displaying a very early example of precious gemstone faceting. (Reference: 18681)
These ancient and early pieces really do make unique gifts for men and women, either for everyday wear or for dress occasions. While they are stylish pieces of jewellery in their own right, they are also a conversation piece and we are thrilled to be able to examine them and to make them available to be enjoyed by the public.