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Genuine Elegant Roman Bronze Gemstone Ring Sz 6 1/2 Green Agate $219.99


For Customers outside of USA

Very Elegant Size 6 1/2 Genuine Ancient Roman Bronze Ring 300 A.D.

CLASSIFICATION: Ancient Roman Bronze Ring. Antique Handcrafted Nineteenth Century Siberian Agate Semi-Precious Gemstone.

ATTRIBUTION: Roman Provincial Bithynia, Bosphorus (present-day Turkey), Third or Fourth Century A.D.

SIZE/MEASUREMENTS: Fits ring size 6 1/2 (U.S.).

Diameter: 19mm * 17mm (outer dimensions excluding gemstone); 18mm * 16mm (inner diameter).

Bezel: 13mm (breadth) * 9 1/2mm (height), * 1 1/4mm (thickness) excluding gemstone.

Gemstone: 10mm (breadth) * 8mm (height) * 3mm (thickness). 1.91 carats (approximate weight).

Tapered Width Band: 8 1/2mm (at bezel) * 5 1/2mm (at sides) * 3 1/2mm (at back).

Weight: 2.61 grams (without gemstone).

CONDITION: Excellent! Intact albeit with moderate wear consistent with sustained usage in the ancient world and moderate porosity (surface pitting caused by contact with earth while buried). Professionally conserved.

DETAIL: A nicely styled Roman bronze ring of a simple "solitaire" design, with a raised, six-sided platform bezel, of a bold size and character, which originally held a gemstone. The ring was not actually recovered with the gemstone intact, however usually this style of bronze ring was set either with a glass gemstone (glass was quite costly) or with some form of quartz crystal; i.e. clear quartz, orange quartz ("carnelian"), or purple quartz ("amethyst"). The ring is of heavy and durable one-piece construction, much like a contemporary ring. The more archaic rings produced by Roman artisans were characteristically made in two pieces; an incomplete ring (a "shank") with a separately crafted bezel which was brazed to the shank in order to assemble the ring.

Though initially the wear evidenced seems very light (and the overall wear indeed is very light), close inspection of the ring reveals unmistakable evidence that the ring was most likely worn most of a lifetime. If you look at the bezel from underneath (visible in some of the images here), you can see how the wearer's finger eventually wore through some of the thinner areas of the back side of the bezel (which of course was thin to begin with, as it was the "belly" of the concavity which held the original gemstone). The extent of the wear is significant enough that it suggests that the ring might have been worn during the lifetime of more than one owner. Perhaps it was a family heirloom handed down between generations. Otherwise the wear evidenced elsewhere on the ring is fairly light, particularly as evidenced by the very light wear to the raised platform bezel and the punch dot periphery embellishment pattern accent four of the six sides of the platform.

The Romans had a number of different adhesives they used, some of the most common being resin and bitumen. However one characteristic that they all had in common is that sooner or later, they tended to fail. Consequentially ancient "gemstone" rings are typically unearthed without the gemstone. True to form, this particular ring was not recovered with the gemstone intact, so we mounted a large, natural, antique, handcrafted green agate semi-precious gemstone. Agate has been popularly used through recorded history for the production of jewelry, beads, and amulets due to the vibrant rainbow of colors agate naturally occurs in. Agate amulets produced by Stone Age man in France has been discovered, dating the known use of agate back to approximately 20,000 B.C. Agate was widely used and admired by the ancient Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Persians, Egyptians, etc.

Rather than use bitumen pitch or tree resin, we mounted the gemstone using jeweler's epoxy. The gemstone is quite secure, but if you at time in the future wished to remove it, this could easily be accomplished using some thinner or nail polish remover. The gemstone was produced in the 19th century by Russian artisans famed for centuries for the elaborate jewelry produced using precious and semi-precious gemstones mined in the fabled Southern Ural Mountains of Siberia. It's a very beautiful gemstone, and though it is not an expensive gemstone, it seemed an appropriate choice. Though the gemstone is not as old as the ring, given the fact that many cultures of the classical Mediterranean world (including the Romans and Greeks) made wide use of agate in their jewelry, and that the gemstone in itself is historically significant, it seemed an appropriate gemstone to enhance this ring's beauty, a choice which preserves historical continuity.

Fate has been kind, and the ring has been preserved in wonderful condition. Of course the ring does evidence some fairly substantial all-over wear. However the fact that the ring evidences some degree of wear from ancient usage should not, however, be a source of disappointment. You must keep in mind that the ring was produced by an artisan and sold to a patron or consumer with the idea that the ring would be enjoyed and worn by the purchaser. And without any regard to twenty-first century posterity, that is precisely what happened! The original Roman owner of this ring wore it, enjoyed it, and probably never could have in his most delusional moment ever dreamed that almost 100 generations later the ring would still exist.

It should likewise come as no surprise that also detectable are the telltale signs that the ring spent thousands of years in the soil. Porosity is fine surface pitting (oxidation, corrosion) caused by extended burial in caustic soil. Many small ancient metal artifacts such as this are extensively disfigured and suffer substantial degradation as a consequence of the ordeal of being buried for millennia. It is not at all unusual to find metal artifacts decomposed to the point where they are not much more substantial than discolored patterns in the soil. Actually most smaller ancient artifacts such as this are so badly oxidized that oftentimes all that is left is a green (bronze) or red (iron) stain in the soil, or an artifact which crumbles in your hand.

However this specimen is not so heavily afflicted, and certainly has not been disfigured. To the casual admirer, it simply looks like an ancient ring, nicely surfaced, no immediately discernible blemishes. You have to look pretty closely to detect the telltale signs indicating the ring was buried for millennia. No denying, there is oxidation, as if you examine the ring in a jeweler's loupe, or if you examine these photo enlargements closely, you can clearly see the evidence of porosity (corrosion, fine surface pitting), particularly to the sides of the band. However the extent is relatively mild. This ring spent almost 2,000 years buried, yet by good fortune there is only a very modest degree of porosity evidenced. It happened to come to rest in very gentle soil conditions. Consequentially, the integrity of the artifact remains undiminished, and despite the slight porosity, the ring remains quite handsome, and entirely wearable.

The ring is almost modern and quite distinctive in appearance, a classic and timeless design. The ring has a very nice light brown color with golden undertones, very characteristic of ancient bronze and very attractive, unmistakably bronze but it almost appears as if were ancient gold. The Romans were of course very fond of ornate personal jewelry including bracelets worn both on the forearm and upper arm, brooches, pendants, hair pins, earrings intricate fibulae and belt buckles, and of course, rings. This is an exceptional piece of Roman jewelry, a very handsome artifact, and eminently wearable. Aside from being significant to the history of ancient jewelry, it is also an evocative relic of one of the world's greatest civilizations and than ancient world's most significant military machine; the glory and light which was known as the "Roman Empire".

HISTORY: Bronze is the name given to a wide range of alloys of copper, typically mixed in ancient times with zinc or tin. The Bronze Age followed the Neolithic, and as the name implies, saw the production of bronze tools, weapons and armor which were either hard or more durable than their stone predecessors. Traditionally archaeology has maintained that the earlier bronze was produced by the Maikop, a proto-Indo-European, proto-Celtic culture of Caucasus prehistory around 3500 B.C. Recent evidence however suggests that the smelting of bronze might be as much as several thousand years older. Shortly after the emergence of bronze technology in the Caucasus region, bronze technology emerged in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean), Anatolia (Turkey) and the Iranian Plateau. By the late fourth to early third millennium B.C. many Bronze Age Cultures had emerged. Some of the more notable were the Celtic cultures of Middle Europe stretching from Hungary to Poland and Germany, including the Urnfield, Lusatian, and (Iron Age Transitional) Hallstatt Cultures.

The Shang in ancient China also developed a significant Bronze Age culture, noted for large bronze burial urns. Britain's Bronze Age cultures included the Beaker, Wessex, Deverl, and Rimbury. Cornwall was the principle source of tin not only for Britain but exported throughout the Mediterranean, and copper was produced from the Great Orme mine in North Wales. Though much of the raw minerals may have come from Britain (and to a lesser extent Spain), it was the Aegean world which controlled the trade in bronze. The great seafaring Minoan Empire appears to have controlled, coordinated, and defended the Bronze Age trade. Tin and charcoal were imported into Cyprus, where locally mined copper was mined and alloyed with the tin from Britain. It appears that the Bronze Age collapsed with the Minoan Empire, to be replaced by a Dark Age and the eventual rise of the Iron Age Myceneans. Evidence suggests that the precipitating event might have been the eruption of Thera and the ensuing tsunami, which was only about 40 miles north of Crete, the capital of the Minoan empire.

It is known that the bread-basket of the Minoan empire, the area north of the Black Sea lost population, and thereafter many Minoan colony/client-states lost large populations to extreme famines or pestilence. Thus with the end to the shipping of tin throughout the Mediterranean the Bronze Age trade network is believed to have failed, and the end of the Bronze Age and the rise of the Iron age is normally associated with the disturbances created by large population movements in the 12th century B.C. The end of the Bronze Age saw the emergency of new technologies and civilizations which heralded the new Iron Age. Although iron was in many respects much inferior to bronze (steel was still thousands of years away), iron had the advantage that it could be produced using local resources during the dark ages that followed the Minoan collapse. Bronze also resists corrosion and metal fatigue better than iron. Bronze was still used during the Iron Age, but for many purposes the weaker iron was sufficiently strong to serve in its place. As an example, Roman officers were equipped with bronze swords while foot soldiers had to make do with iron blades.

Agate is named after its ancient source, the Achates River in Sicily, now known as the Drillo River, which remains a major source of this gemstone (though some ancient historians believe that the word agate is derived from the Greek word "Agate??" - meaning happy). Agate was used by Stone Age man in France 20,000-16,000 B.C. The ancient Egyptians used it prior to 3000 B.C., and in the Ptolemaic Period carved agate scarabs. Agate was also extremely popular for us in jewelry in ancient Sumeria. Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in many other ancient cultures. It was said to quench thirst and protect from fevers.

Persian magicians were believed to possess the power to divert storms through the use of agate talismans. The ancient Egyptians believed that agates protected the wearer from lightning and bestowed the power of oratory. A famous collection of four thousand agate bowls was accumulated by Mithradates, king of Pontus, is illustrative of the high value the ancient world had for agate. Agate bowls were also popular in the Byzantine Empire. Collecting agate bowls became common among European royalty during the Renaissance and many museums in Europe, including the Louvre, have spectacular examples.

The agate-working industry grew up centuries ago in the Idar-Oberstein district of Germany, where agates were abundant. From the 16th century onwards cameos were cut from agate where different colors occur in layers. The background material is cut away, leaving the cameo design in relief. At the same time in Torre del Greco (Italy), a similar technique was used to cut cameos from sea shells. Agate is a common semiprecious silica mineral, colorful microscopic crystals of quartz, a variety of chalcedony occurs in bands of varying color and transparency. Most agates occur in gas bubble cavities in eruptive rocks or ancient lava. Silica laded water is deposited within the bubbles, and coagulates to a silica gel, eventually crystallizing as quartz. One common form of such quartz is onyx. Agate is found in a wide variety of patterns and beautiful colors, and can be transparent to opaque. The primary sources of agate today are Brazil, Uruguay, China, India, Madagascar, Mexico, and the USA.

One of the greatest civilizations of recorded history was the ancient Roman Empire. In exchange for a very modest amount of contemporary currency, you can possess a small part of that great civilization in the form of a 2,000 year old piece of jewelry. The Roman civilization, in relative terms the greatest military power in the history of the world, was founded in the 8th century (B.C.). In the 4th Century (B.C.) the Romans were the dominant power on the Italian Peninsula, having defeated the Etruscans and Celts. In the 3rd Century (B.C.) the Romans conquered Sicily, and in the following century defeated Carthage, and controlled the Greece. Throughout the remainder of the 2nd Century (B.C.) the Roman Empire continued its gradual conquest of the Hellenistic (Greek Colonial) World by conquering Syria and Macedonia; and finally came to control Egypt in the 1st Century (B.C.).

The pinnacle of Roman power was achieved in the 1st Century (A.D.) as Rome conquered much of Britain and Western Europe. For a brief time, the era of "Pax Romana", a time of peace and consolidation reigned. Civilian emperors were the rule, and the culture flourished with a great deal of liberty enjoyed by the average Roman Citizen. However within 200 years the Roman Empire was in a state of steady decay, attacked by Germans, Goths, and Persians. In the 4th Century (A.D.) the Roman Empire was split between East and West. The Great Emperor Constantine temporarily arrested the decay of the Empire, but within a hundred years after his death the Persians captured Mesopotamia, Vandals infiltrated Gaul and Spain, and the Goths even sacked Rome itself. Most historians date the end of the Western Roman Empire to 476 (A.D.) when Emperor Romulus Augustus was deposed. However the Eastern Roman Empire (The Byzantine Empire) survived until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D.

At its peak, the Roman Empire stretched from Britain in the West, throughout most of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, and into Asia Minor. Valuables such as coins and jewelry were commonly buried for safekeeping, and inevitably these ancient citizens would succumb to one of the many perils of the ancient world. Oftentimes the survivors of these individuals did not know where the valuables had been buried, and today, two thousand years later caches of coins and rings are still commonly uncovered throughout Europe and Asia Minor. Roman Soldiers oftentimes came to possess large quantities of "booty" from their plunderous conquests, and routinely buried their treasure for safekeeping before they went into battle. If they met their end in battle, most often the whereabouts of their treasure was likewise, unknown.

Throughout history these treasures have been inadvertently discovered by farmers in their fields, uncovered by erosion, and the target of unsystematic searches by treasure seekers. With the introduction of metal detectors and other modern technologies to Eastern Europe in the past three or four decades, an amazing number of new finds are seeing the light of day two thousand years or more after they were originally hidden by their past owners. And with the liberalization of post-Soviet Eastern Europe, new markets have opened eager to share in these treasures of the Roman Empire.

SHIPPING: These antiquities come from a number of collections which by and large originated here in Eastern Europe. As well, additional specimens are occasionally acquired from other institutions and dealers, principally in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. All of these artifacts are now in the United States and are available for immediate delivery via U.S. Mail. All purchases are backed by an unlimited guarantee of satisfaction and authenticity. If for any reason you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a complete and immediate refund of your entire purchase price. A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request.

Our order fulfillment center near Seattle, Washington will ship your purchase within one business day of receipt of your personal check or money order. If you wish to pay electronically, we accept both PayPal and BidPay. However we ask that you PLEASE WAIT before remitting until we have mutually agreed upon method of shipment and shipping charges and you understand our PayPal limitations and policies (stated here). We will ship within one business day of our receipt of your electronic remittance.

A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request. We prefer your personal check or money order over any other form of payment - and we will ship immediately upon receipt of your check (no "holds"). Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."