This is an ancient Roman bone finger ring, dating to the 4th - 5th century A.D. It is a large piece, designed for a man to wear. The central bezel engraved with a Chi-Rho symbol, denoting this ring once belonged to an early Christian. The Chi-Rho is cut into the bone, with plenty of age related wear and patina. The ring being made from bone is not at all surprising for genuine early Christian jewellery. Most early Christians were sworn to secrecy or to give away any valuables and wealth. As such no gold or silver rings would have been worn, rings made in wood or other natural organic materials such as bone would have been suitable. Signet ring were the most important piece of jewellery permitted to be worn by the early Church, used to seal and authenticate letters and documents. It is a rare survivor of a functional piece of early Christian jewellery, possibly used by an important member of the early Church.
OBJECT: Signet Ring
CULTURE: Roman / Early Christian
DATE: c. 4th - 5th century A.D.
RING SIZE: 7 1/2 (US) P (UK)
SIZE: 24.50mm x 32.84mm x 8.55mm (bezel 21.68mm x 14.56mm x 4.33mm)
WEIGHT: 8.14 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. K. Hofer collection. Graz, Austria.
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