Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    350 BC-250 BC (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chased gold with carnelian and gold wire

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 4, shelf A, box 8

The earliest known finger rings are about 6000 years old and come from the near East. They evolved from a cylinder seal attached to a hoop of precious metal surrounding the finger. Later the Egyptians used a magical scarab beetle, in stone or imitation stone, with an engraved seal on its base. This was adopted by the Etruscans and Phoenicians, and from it developed the signet ring as a guarantee of authenticity or ownership.
The scarab beetle was thought to be an incarnation of Khepri, an Egyptian sun god associated with resurrection. Because the beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and pushes it around, the Egyptians used it as an image and metaphor for the passage of the sun across the sky. The young scarab beetles hatch out of the ball of dung (equivalent to the sun), which emphasizes the concept of new life and rebirth through the sun.

Physical description

Gold hoop with a revolving cornelian scarab, decorated on the reverse with an animal motif, possibly an antelope. The shoulders of the hoop are bound with gold wire.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


350 BC-250 BC (made)



Materials and Techniques

Chased gold with carnelian and gold wire


Height: 2.2 cm, Width: 2.2 cm, Depth: 0.6 cm

Object history note

ex Webb Collection

Descriptive line

Gold hoop with a revolving carnelian scarab, decorated on the reverse with an animal motif, the shoulders of the hoop bound with gold wire, Italy, Etruscan, about 350-250 BC.


Gold; Carnelian; Wire



Subjects depicted

Antelope; Scarabs


Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.