Measurements: diameter – 1.7 cm


Description: A small Roman bronze ring key. Small and elegant ring keys such as this one were a Roman innovation. Elegant keys sometimes presented the door they were supposed to unlock and were considered a status symbol because the owner implied that he has some assets to protect by wearing them. This key was used for the warded lock – a special type of security lock, was also invented by Romans to protect valuables. Wards i.e. projections around the keyhole protect the key from being rotated unless the face of the key corresponds precisely with the wards inside the lock. This type of small ring keys belonged to women who used it to unlock their jewellery boxes. Warded keys are rare in comparison to other types of Roman keys.


Reference: Metropolitan Museum of Art


Period: 3rd – 4th cent. AD


Condition: Very fine.

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