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Antique Vintage Elephant Hair Serpent Snake Ring

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    Posted 9 years ago

    (10 items)

    A friend of mine gave me this ring a while back. He said he found it in the basement of the house he had moved into and that he knew nothing about it and thought it was ugly. I thought it was cool and I love snake/serpent jewelry so when he asked if I wanted it , I gladly took it. My friend also thought that the black part on the inside of the ring was onyx. I am no expert, but I knew it wasn't onyx. I also had no idea what it really was. After extensive research, I came to the conclusion that it was Elephant Hair!!! This could mean it is from somewhere like India or Africa but I haven't a clue. I do not know for certain what the ring is made of but it appears to be brass and copper. As for time period, your guess is as good as mine. Anyone have any thoughts on the age of this ring? Please tell me what you think....

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    1. inky inky, 9 years ago
      I have a ring with elephant hair in it just like yours and I bought it in Malaysia Penang 40 years ago, the only difference is mine hasn't the snakes head and mine was gold so yours I would say! would be gold with possibly rose gold not copper....:-)
    2. ApatheticXHeart ApatheticXHeart, 9 years ago
      Hello Inky,

      I just noticed your comment. I don't visit this site as much as I would like to these days. Anyway, thank you for your input. I am pretty sure though that the ring is not gold per say but gold gilded. The part that looks copper is far too pink in color to be rose gold. I believe the method used is called Depletion Gilding.
      This is the Wiki definition:

      Depletion gilding relies on the fact that gold is highly resistant to oxidation or corrosion by most common chemicals, whereas many other metals are not. Depletion gilding is most often used to treat alloys of gold with copper and/or silver. Unlike gold, both copper and silver readily react with a variety of chemicals. For example, nitric acid is effective as an etching agent for both copper and silver. Under the proper circumstances, even ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) will react with either metal.

      The object to be gilded is coated, immersed, or packed in a suitable acid or salt. These chemicals then attack the metallic copper and silver in the object's surface, transforming it to various copper and silver compounds. The object is usually heated to make the etching process more efficient. Regardless, the resulting copper and silver compounds can be removed from the object's surface by a number of processes. Washing, chemical leaching, heating, or even physical absorption by porous materials such as brick dust have all been used. However, the relatively inert gold remains behind, unaffected. The result is a thin layer of nearly pure gold on the surface of the original object.
      There is no well-defined minimum gold content required to successfully depletion gild an object. However as a practical matter, the less gold that is present, the more other material must be etched away to produce the desired surface appearance. In addition, the removal of the other metals usually leaves the surface covered with microscopic voids and pits. This can make the surface soft and "spongy" with a dull or matte appearance. This effect becomes more pronounced as more base metal is removed. For this reason, most depletion gilded objects are burnished to make their surfaces more durable and give them a more attractive polished finish.

      In any case, it is a very interesting ring and I have yet to find anything like it on the internet. Unfortunately, it is far too fragile to wear.

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