Friday, 27 November 2015

Medieval iconographic ring

On November 1st during a club dig I was delighted to find a ring. It looks like a Medieval iconographic ring in silver-gilt. It has five bezels or faces:
This is my interpretation of the engraving on the bezels:
- IHS = Greek shorthand for Christ
- figure of Mary with radiates from head
- two faces have trifoliate leaves representing the trinity
- M = Mary
Weight = 7.16g, internal diameter = 18.5mm.
It only fits my little finger so I believe it is a ladies ring, possibly a nun's wedding band or a wealthy ladies ring.
I have reported it to our Sussex FLO (Finds Liaison Officer) at Lewes museum, and it will be interesting to see the eventual British Museum report once they have received and appraised it. (see update below)
figure of Mary
trifoliate leaf

trifoliate leaf

update November 2019: the ring was returned to me recently having been disclaimed as treasure (i.e. no local museum wished to buy it from the British Museum at its valuation). It is a lovely ring and looks gold except for some small wear marks at corners where the silver shows through.

extracts from the record: Silver-gilt ring , flat inner hoop with five projections divided by ridges. On the projections are lightly engraved panels of foliate ornament with three leaves and one with IHS [name of Jesus], The Virgin crowned, M crowned for MARIA.
Dimensions: Width: 7.8 mm, Thickness: 1.4 mm, Weight: 7.07 g, Diameter: 22.5 mm
Discussion: Gilding worn on some ridges to reveal silver beneath. This devotional ring would appear to be late 15th-early 16th Century. 

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