BYZANTINE OPENWORK GOLD RING
Measurements: 1.8 cm – inner wide diameter, 1.7 cm – inner narrow diameter, 4.44 g - weight
Description: A very fine Byzantine openwork gold ring decorated with fleur-de-lis (lily flower). The ring has a D-section hoop decorated with beaded wire and flattened granulation. The openwork filigree work on this ring is composed of gold beaded wire. The central trefoil motif is en early fleur-de-lis. The ring is accompanied with a brief report from Dr Jack Ogden, jewellery historian, and an Art Loss Register certificate.
Early depictions of fleur-de-lis are scarce, however, the symbol has always been prominent in heraldry and featured on crests of some Byzantine families. The fleur-de-lis as the finial of a sceptre and as an ornament of a crown can be traced back to the 5th century. One legend identifies it with a lily given by Virgin Mary to king Clovis of the Franks (5th – 6th cent. AD) after he converted to Christianity. In heraldry, it has been always associated with the French crown.
Provenance: Ex. Mayfair gallery, London. Prior: private collection, West Somerset, UK, 1980s.
Period: 5th – 8th century AD
Condition: Very fine, intact, slightly bent. Minor encrustations on the surface.