Gold and cabochon garnet ring

Period: Hellenistic

Date: 2nd–1st century B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Gold and cabochon garnet

Dimensions: Overall: 1 1/16 x 15/16 x 1 3/8 in. (2.7 x 2.4 x 3.5 cm)

Classification: Gold and Silver

Credit Line: Purchase, Patricia and Marietta Fried Gift, 2005

Accession Number: 2005.278


The size of the hexagonal bezel, set with a plain but impressively large oval garnet, combined with the fact that another smaller garnet is set in a circular bezel at the center of the hoop at rear, suggests that one was meant to wear this ring on the thumb. This interpretation is confirmed by the presence of the hinge mechanism on the hoop, which allowed the ring to be fitted securely onto the thumb below the knuckle. The piece is a striking example of the extravagant and ostentatious lifestyle of the rich in the Hellenistic world.