Posted 3 years ago
This carved hardstone is probably a pale amethyst, the gold acid tests to at least 22ct.
The hardstone is quite small, about 11cm x 9.5cm. The image is that of Medusa, and it's known as a Gorgoneion (Medusa was one of the three Gorgon sisters). Gorgoneions were amulets to protect from evil.
In Greek mythology Medusa's face was so terrifying that those who looked upon it were turned to stone. Perseus killed her and took her head to use as a weapon, before giving it to Athena who set in in her shield.
Gorgoneions were a common subject for cameos throughout the Roman period, and jet versions were favored as ring stones by Roman soldiers in the Western provinces, from Germany to Britain, in the 2nd to 4th Centuries AD.
I'm wondering if anyone has any idea how old the actual ringstone might be?
The high carat gold, prong setting, and lack of hallmarks suggests to me the gold ring was made in Victorian times, and the shape of the ring itself is almost Art Nouveau, so I'd date the gold ring to circa 1900.
I bought it from a guy who visited London in the 60's, and stayed with a friend whose mother had a stall at Covent Garden Markets. She sold bric-a-brac and jewellery, and gave him the ring when he left to come back to NZ.
Any suggestions as to its actual age will be gratefully received.