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Archaeology/Ancient ring


Ring image
Ring image  
QUESTION: I have a ring that appears to be very old.  I have talked to jewelers and researched on the web, but cannot find these symbols (hieroglyphics) anywhere.  Sorry, this is the best picture I could get of the top.  Also, it has the number 23 engraved on the side (about midway). I was told it is 20 to 24 kt.

ANSWER: Hi Roland,

It looks rather interesting but I'm un able to make out what the carving is.  Looks like it may be made out of a stone called carnelian but its hard to assess in the setting.  It may be an Egyptian revival ring.  The Egyptian revival period took place in the early to late 1920s with the discovery of king Tut in Egypt and many artifacts from the period.  People fell in love with the designs and motifs and jewelers cashed in by making things that looked like the  artifacts.  The ring is probably 14 or 18 Kt gold since it looks like its in good shape.  Any thing higher and it would be dinged up and scratched rather badly.  20 to 24 Kt gold is very soft.  You can actually dent it with your teeth. As for the number 23, no telling but this does indicate that it is not of ancient manufacture since numerals like these did not exist back then.  

I hope this helps.  If you can get a better pic. of the surface, I may be able to tell you more.

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QUESTION: Thank you for your help.  I finally got a photographer to take some pics for me.  Any help with a better description of the carving and dating of the ring would be appreciated.

Hi Roland,

This is Arabic.  It is a signet ring. And not unlike European Signet rings, it would have been used to "seal" documents with wax.  It is old but can not say how old.  I do not believe that it is in its original setting.  The gold is better then 18kt would indicate North African or Arabian origin as they preferred higher alloy gold and their standards were not as good as they are today.  

The stone is Carnilian an is a very typical stone for this purpose.  

There is the possibility that it is a "Lodge" ring used by a high degree member.  These are given to members who have achieved a high rank in their organization. An organization like the Shriners would potentially  be the source of such a ring.  The Freemasons too could be a source as well.  


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Ralph Salier


Archaeologist for the last 30 years. Norh American generalist and Hopwell culture/Red Ocher culture specifically. Lithics Expert and Ground Stone tools.


Past/Present clients
Numerous museums in US and Canada. Several University Anthropology Departments.

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