Posted 6 years ago
Exceptionally rare toadstone rings circa 15th-17th centuries. There are similar examples in the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Cheapside Horde at the Museum of London.
Toadstone is an amuletic stone which was highly prized for its magical powers. Toadstones [which were believed to come from the heads of living toads], are actually the fossilized teeth of Lepidotus, an extinct genus of ray-finned fish from the Jurassic period. Alternatively, some toadstone rings were agate stones. Toadstones were considered to be an antidote for poison and were also used in the treatment of epilepsy. Mothers wore toadstones to protect their children from being swapped for changelings.
In folklore, a toadstone had to be removed from a toad while the creature was still alive to retain its magical power. Topsell  gave instructions on how to remove the stone from a live toad, by placing it on a red cloth and waiting for it to belch out the toadstone.
Lupton  suggested an equally imaginative way to extract the jewel: ' Put a great or overgrowne Tode... into an earthen pot, and put the same in an Ants hillocke, and cover the same with Earth, which Toade at length the Ants will eate. So that the bones of the Toade and stone will be left in the Pot...'
Left to right:
- Probably German late 16th/ early 17th century toadstone ring, made with the palatal tooth of the fossilized fish Lepidotus. The ring is silver set with the toadstone in a closed-back setting with piecrust edge.
- English amuletic ring, high-carat gold, 15th century, set with a 'toadstone' that is most likely an agate.
- English high carat gold and toadstone ring, circa 1700. The toadstone in this ring, set in a rubover setting is the fossilized tooth of Lepidotes.