Byzantine Gold Ring with Amethyst


An exquisite Byzantine gold ring featuring a solid round hoop with a large oval bezel, set with a polished amethyst. The bezel is richly decorated with gold decorations, executed in different techniques and testifying the excellence of Byzantine craftsmanship. The sides present a register of gold filigree, arranged in alternating spirals and framed by a herringbone pattern. The top of the bezel reveals the bright purple stone, enhanced by gold wires applied onto the flat shoulder, each twisted into a knot-shape with a gold granule above. Below the bezel, gold filigree forms geometrical shapes, further embellishing the piece.

Closest UK ring size: P.

Date: Circa 5th - 10th Century AD
Provenance: Ex Japanese gentleman (deceased) collection, 1970 - 2010.
Condition: Excellent condition. The piece has been restored for modern wear.


SKU: MG-344 Category: Tags: , , ,

Byzantine jewellery was a full continuation of the Roman traditions. Production in the old jewellery centres of Alexandria and Antioch gave way to an increased production in Constantinople. In the Byzantine Empire jewellery played an important role. It acted as a way to express one’s status and as a diplomatic tool.

The name “amethyst” comes from the Greek, ‘amethystos‘, meaning “not intoxicated” (‘ἀ- a-, “not” and μεθύσκω ‘methysko‘ / μεθύω ‘methyo’, “intoxicate”). Already widely appreciated in Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures, where it was thought to have talismanic properties and was associated with the god Dionysus, the stone maintained its amuletic properties during the Byzantine era. It was believed that amethyst would prevent overindulgence, and protect its wearer against the effects of wine and poison.

To discover more about Byzantine jewellery and the use of gemstones in ancient jewellery, please visit our relevant blog posts: The Byzantine Empire, Art and Christianity and The History and Mythology of Gemstones in Ancient Jewellery.

Weight 9.18 g
Dimensions W 2.75 cm



Semi-Precious Stones

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