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Ring

Ring

  • Place of origin:

    Europe (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, engraved

  • Museum number:

    668-1871

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Very large gilt bronze or copper rings set with glass or crystal bezels are often known as Papal rings. They are decorated with the arms of Popes or Cardinals from the 15th century along with papal keys and tiaras and are usually distinguished by their great size and low intrinsic value. Their exact function is unknown but it has been suggested that they were worn as credentials by mounted couriers between Popes and other church figures and sovereigns. They served to prove the identity of the messager but were not of a value which would tempt thieves.

These rings were very popular with nineteenth century antiquarians and it is likely that out of the 100 plus surviving examples, some were made later to satisfy the demands of collectors.

Physical description

Gold 'Papal' ring, set with a dark rectangular stone, engraved with Papal Insignia and foliage design.

Place of Origin

Europe (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gold, engraved

Descriptive line

Gold 'Papal' ring, set with a dark rectangular stone, engraved with Papal Insignia and foliage design.

Materials

Gold

Subjects depicted

Coat of arms; Crown; Crozier; Keys

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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