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Home > Auctions > 1st December 2015 > Greek Gold Swivel Ring with Ruby and Sapphires

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LOT 0001

Sold for (Inc. bp): £17,360

1" (9.67 grams, 26mm overall, 16.93 x 18.18mm internal diameter (approximate size British M 1/2, USA 6 1/2, Europe 13.16, Japan 12)).

A substantial D-section penannular hoop with tapering ends forming looped hinge elements; the bezel a gold cell with lug to each end engaged with the loop and set with a sapphire cabochon; the cell open to the underside, set with a large cabochon ruby, the coiled ends recently soldered to allow it to be worn.

From the private collection of a Swedish gentleman.

Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate.

See Despini, A. Greek Art. Ancient Gold Jewellery, Athens, 1996, item 168 for similar cabochon stones.

With the opening up of the trade routes from the Mediterranean through Central Asia and into India by Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic world had access to prestigious goods that had rarely been seen before. This included a range of gem stones such as rubies and sapphires. In the ancient world rubies were mined in Thailand, the Pailin and Samlout District of Cambodia, Burma, India and Afghanistan, with the latter two being the most easily accessible source. Sapphires came mainly from India and Sri Lanka, but were also mined in East Africa. Due to the political instability in Central Asia after the death of Alexander the Great, and the rise to power of the Persians, the trade in these stones became relatively difficult and they are rarely seen in Greek or Roman jewellery. They were reserved for the elite of society, and the colour of the stones evokes the expensive dyes used in textiles that were reserved to be worn by the ruling class.