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Gorgeous 16thC Medieval Silver Ring Ruby Red Glass Sz 9 $139.99


For Customers outside of USA

Large Beautiful Size 9 Late Byzantine/Early Renaissance Era Silver Ring with a Glass Ruby Red Colored Center Stone and a Natural White Zircon Accent Stone.

CLASSIFICATION: Silver (Alloy) Ring with a Ruby Red Colored Glass "Gemstone".

ATTRIBUTION: Constantinople (Ancient Turkey), 15-17th Century A.D.

SIZE/DIMENSIONS (all measurements approximate):

Size: 9 (U.S.). Inner Diameter: 20mm. Overall Diameter: 26mm * 23mm.

Bezel/Gemstone: 16mm in breadth; 12mm in height; 4 1/2mm in thickness.

Fixed Width 8 1/2mm Band.

Weight: 5.75 grams.

CONDITION: Excellent! Intact, integrity unimpaired. Moderately light wear from usage. No significant porosity (surface pitting caused by contact with earth while buried). Very fine finish.

DETAIL: A large and intricate silver ring of late Byzantine or early Renaissance origin, probably sixteen or seventeenth century, provenance is Eastern Europe. The ring bears a very elaborate pattern on the sides of the band wrapping all the way around to the back of the band. A similarly elaborate double beaded rope pattern embellishes the entire circumference of the bezel skirt at the base where it joins the bands, as well as near the top where the "teeth" retain the gemstone inside of the bezel. It is quite substantial, and the design of the ring and the detailed metal work evidenced in the bezel and bands is very elaborate! The ring was certainly designed to be worn by a man, and is bold and handsome enough to be worn by a man today. However the design is elaborate, elegant, and intricate enough to be worn with good taste by a woman as well.

Although there are unmistakable indications of wear, they are fairly light. Some of the embellished band patterns are worn ever so slightly, but they are still entirely distinguishable despite the light wear. The bezel skirt shows a little more wear, as small segments of the beaded perimeter design have been worn smooth - and some of the "teeth" which retain the "gemstone" also show slight flattening from wear. However the area of the bezel is very susceptible to wear, so it comes as no surprise that this area is the first to show signs of wear.. The most significant and elaborate metal work - that of the bands - remains almost entirely unworn. It requires very close scrutiny to discern any wear to the bands. Although there are many unmistakable indications of age, overall the ring is in excellent condition and almost all of the intricate metalwork is intact and only lightly worn.

But of course, some signs of wear are to be expected from a ring several centuries old. It was produced with the idea that someone would purchase it and wear it - and that is exactly what happened. The "ruby red" colored faux gemstone is of course, glass. Glass was quite commonly used during the era to produce ersatz gemstones, albeit expensive ersatz gemstones. Inexpensive faux gemstones were more often than not produced from molded and colored amber resin. Glass gemstones were still fairly costly. Artisans of the era produced brightly colored "gemstones" such as this possessing very rich tone and even color.

There is a small hole in the surface of the gemstone. This is not damage, but rather where a peg-style metal embellishment would have been set into the gemstone. It is not an uncommon affectation, but rarely do the diminutive metal "peg-leg" embellishments (shaped much like a golf tee) remain in the "gemstone" when a ring such as this is uncovered. Inasmuch as we were left with a small hole in the gemstone, we "plugged" it with a nice, sparkling white zircon gemstone as an accent. A quite beautiful touch, we hope you'd agree. If not, it could always be easily removed, but it does add a nice touch to the ring.

The ring itself is silver alloyed some minor portion of bronze. While it is not sterling silver, much like contemporary silver rings, the addition of a minor portion of base metal makes the ring more durable and resistant to wear and scratching. This style of ring was popular throughout much of Eastern Byzantine Europe for centuries, so it is difficult to place a precise date on the artifact. However it is likely to have been produced sometime in the 15th, 16th, or 17th century. In any event, this elaborate piece of late Byzantine or early Renaissance jewelry is in a very good state of preservation, and is quite wearable.

HISTORY: The Romans were the first to mass produce glass articles, and this included glass jewelry and gemstones. The Romans and their successors in the East, the Byzantines (and Eastern Europe in general), were very fond of elaborate jewelry and other personal adornments. Typical jewelry included bracelets worn both on the forearm as well as upper arm, rings, earrings, and pendants. In the ancient world, glass was enormously costly jewelry, not only for the Romans of the first century, but going back 3,000 years old to ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Sumeria. Though glass jewelry, especially gemstones, have been fashioned for over 3,000 years, very little is known about the production of glass in the ancient world.

The ancient Egyptians fashioned amulets, beads, and small vessels out of a material known as faience, an ancient precursor of glass created by crushing quartz sand and mixing it with an alkali binder and mineral oxides to provide color. Written records from ancient Mesopotamia refer to the manufacture of glass, describing the manufacturing process as difficult and secret. Ancient lumps of glass have been discovered in the area and dated as far back as 4,000 B.C. Around 1,500 B.C. two new production techniques gave rise to more frequent manufacture of glass in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Both techniques involved the use of molten glass rods, either wrapped around a mud core, or placed within a mold. However the end product was nonetheless frightfully expensive and the process lengthy.

Finally around the 1st century B.C. glass blowing techniques were developed, wherein a blob of molten glass was inflated either free form or into a mold by blowing through a hollow metal blowpipe. Glass blowing became widespread during the later Roman Empire, and the inexpensive process created huge demand for glass products, including jewelry. Syria became the "glass factory" of the Roman Empire and glassware came to be widely disseminated throughout the Roman Empire. Glass remained expensive through the 17th century, and glass gemstones though less expensive than natural gemstones, were still expensive. The "gemstones" in "costume" jewelry were generally made from colored amber. Short of genuine precious and semi-precious gemstones, glass "gemstones" were still the domain of more costly pieces.

After gold, silver is the metal most widely used in jewelry and the most malleable. The oldest silver artifacts date from ancient Sumeria about 4000 BC. Although known during the Copper Age, silver made only rare appearances in jewelry before the classical age. Despite its infrequent use as jewelry however, silver was widely used as coinage due to its softness, brilliant color, and resistance to oxidation. It was also widely used as ornamental work and in other metal wares. In ancient cultures, especially in Rome, silver was highly prized for the making of plate ware, household utensils, and ornamental work. Silver later lost its position of dominance to gold, but, during the European Middle Ages, it once again became the principal material used for metal artwork. Large quantities of silver from the New World also encouraged eager buyers in Europe.

The art of silver work flourished in the Renaissance, finding expression in virtually every imaginable form. Silver was often plated with gold and other decorative materials. Though less costly than gold, silver was nonetheless the domain of royalty and the wealthy. Although silver sheets had been used to overlay wood and other metals since ancient Greece, an 18th-century technique of fusing thin silver sheets to copper brought silver goods called Sheffield plate within the reach of most people. At the same time the use of silver in jewelry making had also started gaining popularity in the 17th century. It was often as support in settings for diamonds and other transparent precious stones, in order to encourage the reflection of light. Silver continued to gain in popularity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and by the 20th century competed with gold as the principal metal used in the manufacture of jewelry.

HISTORY: The Byzantine Empire was the eastern remainder of the great Roman Empire, and stretched from its capital in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey) through much of Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, and small portions of North Africa and the Middle East. Prior to the fifth century collapse of the Western Roman Empire, one of Rome's greatest emperors, Constantine the Great, established a second capital city for the Roman Empire in the East at Byzantium, present day Turkey. Constantine The Great sought to reunite the Roman Empire, centered upon Christian faith, by establishing a second "capital" for the Eastern Roman, away from the pagan influences of the city of Rome. Established as the new capital city for the Eastern Roman Empire in the fourth century, Constantine named the city in his own honor, "Constantinople".

After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire, the "Byzantine Empire", lasted for another thousand years as the cultural, religious and economic center of Eastern Europe. At the same time, as a consequence of the fall of the Western Roman Empire, most of the rest of Europe suffered through one thousand years of the "dark ages". As the center of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople was one of the most elaborate, civilized, and wealthy cities in all of history. The Christian Church eventually became the major political force in the Byzantine Empire. In Byzantine art, God rather than man stood at the center of the universe. Constantine the Great is also credited with being the first Christian Roman Emperor, and was eventually canonized by the Orthodox Church. Christianity had of course been generally outlawed prior to his reign.

Under the Byzantine Empire, Christianity became more than just a faith, it was the theme of the entire empire, its politics, and the very meaning of life. Christianity formed an all-encompassing way of life, and the influence of the Byzantine Empire reached far both in terms of time and geography, certainly a predominant influence in all of Europe up until the Protestant Reformation. In Byzantine art, God rather than man stood at the center of the universe. Representations of Christ, the Virgin, and various saints predominated the coinage of the era. The minting of the coins remained crude however, and collectors today prize Byzantine coins for their extravagant variations; ragged edges, "cupped" coins, etc. Other artifacts such as rings, pendants, and pottery are likewise prized for their characteristically intricate designs.

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."