Ring (1)


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The earliest known finger rings are about 6000 years old and come from the near East. They evolved from a cylinder seal attached to a hoop of precious metal surrounding the finger. Later the Egyptians used a magical scarab beetle, in stone or imitation stone, with an engraved seal on its base. This was adopted by the Etruscans and Phoenicians, and from it developed the signet ring as a guarantee of authenticity or ownership.
The scarab beetle was thought to be an incarnation of Khepri, an Egyptian sun god associated with resurrection. Because the beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and pushes it around, the Egyptians used it as an image and metaphor for the passage of the sun across the sky. The young scarab beetles hatch out of the ball of dung (equivalent to the sun), which emphasizes the concept of new life and rebirth through the sun.

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  • Title: Ring (1)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 350 BC-250 BC
  • Location: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 2.2 cm, Width: 2.2 cm, Depth: 0.6 cm
  • Medium: Chased gold with carnelian and gold wire

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