Delicate Byzantine Gold Ring with Birds and Garnet
An exquisite and rare Byzantine gold ring, featuring a garnet set between two birds. Modelled in gold, the ring displays a knife-edge style shank that flares into two doves perched on the shoulders, which flank a deep wine-coloured rectangular garnet in a protruding golden bezel setting. Although the stone features some light cracks, it displays a brilliant lustre, highlighted by the gold setting, making this an elegant wearable piece of ancient Byzantine jewellery. UK ring size: G ½ . Weight: 2.55g.
Date: 6th – 9th Century AD. Provenance: From an important collection of a Japanese gentlemen, deceased, 1970-2015. Condition: Very fine. Suitable for modern wear with care. The stone features stable cracks.
Birds such as doves were popular motifs in Byzantine imagery, often shown flanking religious symbols such as crosses and other christograms such as the Chi-Rho. In early Christianity, birds such as doves represented the peace of the soul, and were frequently used in the art and architecture of the new religion. Jewellery, especially of precious stone and metal, was a symbol of status in the city of Constantinople, and literary sources divulge that the imperial treasury carefully controlled this lucrative craft.