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'Papal' ring

Italy

15th century

Bronze ring (gilding now lost), the square bezel missing its crystal, the shoulders decorated with fleur-de-lis or trefoil and the emblems of the four evangelists on each side in relief, the hoop engraved with the papal tiara and crossed keys of St John

26 mm internal ring diameter; 104.2 g weight

Baron Welcher von Moltheim

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1897.CDEF.F431

This so-called 'Papal' ring belongs to group of a hundred recorded rings, all of gilt bronze, set with low value pastes or crystals and bearing papal insignia. Their original use is uncertain but it is thought they may have been given as credentials to an envoy from the Pope to the King.

Taylor & Scarisbrick, Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the present day, 1978, no. 462