18thC Antique Russian Ukraine Crimean Tatars Silver Ring White Quartz Agate Sz9

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Seller: ancientgifts (4,569) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 123040045314 Large Beautiful Size 9 Late Renaissance Era Silver Alloy Ring with a White Quartz Agate Semi-Precious Gemstone. CLASSIFICATION: Silver/Bronze Alloy Ring with a Round Semi-Precious Agate Gemstone. ATTRIBUTION: Eastern Europe (Crimean/Black Sea Region), 17th-18th Century A.D. SIZE/DIMENSIONS: Size: 9 (U.S.). Inner Diameter: 19 1/2mm x 19mm. Overall Dimensions: 28 1/2mm x 21mm. Bezel: Diameter: 15mm. Height (Thickness): 8mm. Agate Gemstone: Diameter: 10 1/2mm. Height (Thickness): 7mm. Tapered Width Band: 6 1/2mm at bezel; 6mm at sides; 3 1/2mm at back. Weight: 5.40 grams. CONDITION: Very good! Intact, integrity unimpaired. Wear consistent with lengthy usage. No significant porosity (surface pitting caused by contact with earth while buried). Very fine finish. Professionally conserved. DETAIL: A very ornate silver/bronze alloy ring of late Renaissance origin, probably seventeenth or eighteenth century, provenance is Southern Russia, the Crimean Region. The Crimean, now part of present-day Ukraine, was home of the Tartars (and before them ancient Greek settlements during the first millennium B.C.), across the Black Sea from what was at the time this ring was produced, the Ottoman Empire, modern day Turkey. The ring once bore a very elaborate pattern on the sides of the band probably almost all the way around to the back. A similarly elaborate pattern embellished the circumferential ledge/skirt of the bezel, as well as an intricate perimeter of finely serrated “teeth” surrounding and securing the gemstone. However a substantial portion of this ornate metal work no longer remains discernible, as there is heavy wear to the sides and back of the band as well as to the bezel skirt. Traces of the original ornate metalwork remain discernible where the bands meet the bezel. In fact a reasonably significant remnant of the ornate pattern originally found on the bands remain on front third of each side of the band, where the pattern was sheltered a bit by the overhanging ridge of the lower bezel skirt. Likewise with the bezel skirt, though some of the ornate metal work has been worn away, the most substantial portion of the very intricate twisted rope embellishment remains. Some of the “ledge” has been worn flat and the twisted rope pattern is a bit indistinct. However by and large the majority of the embellishment remains discernible. Finally, the finely serrated “teeth” holding the gemstone within the bezel have also been worn to some extent, though the gemstone remains quite secure within the bezel. You might note that the wear to the “teeth” holding the gemstone within the bezel is especially pronounced along the sides of the ring adjacent to the bands. This might seem odd at first, however this greater wear on these two sides of the bezel is likely due to the ring being worn next to and contacting rings on adjacent fingers. In Eastern (“Byzantine”) Europe it was quite fashionable to wear rings on more than one finger. Oftentimes in fact more than one ring per finger – a preference carried forward from the Roman Empire 1,000 years prior. Of course, some signs of wear are to be expected from a ring several centuries old, and the fact that the ring does evidence wear should not be a source of disappointment. It was produced with the idea that someone would purchase it and wear it, and that is exactly what happened. It is clear that several centuries ago this was amongst someone’s favorite rings and that they wore it with pleasure and frequency. The ring was probably designed to be worn by a man, and is bold and handsome enough to be worn by a man today. However the design is elaborate, elegant, and intricate enough to be worn with good taste by a woman as well. And despite the wear, the ring remains very study, not frail or delicate at all, and it could be worn and enjoyed for many years, even decades into the future. The round gemstone is quartz agate. Agate gemstones and jewelry were very popular throughout the Roman Empire. Before the Romans the Greeks, Phoenicians, and Egyptians as well as the Sumerians also fashioned agate and carnelian into jewelry. Since before recorded history evidence suggests that quartz agate and carnelian were amongst mankind’s most favored gemstones for at least the past 10,000 years. Most agates occur in gas bubble cavities in eruptive rocks or ancient lava. Silica laded water is deposited within the bubbles, and coagulates to a silica gel, eventually crystallizing as quartz. Since perhaps 40,000-80,000 years ago both Neanderthal and Modern Man have been attracted to agate’s wide variety of patterns and beautiful colors, transparent to opaque. The ring itself is silver alloyed with bronze, moreso silver than bronze judging by appearances. This style of ring was popular throughout much of Eastern Byzantine Europe for centuries, so it is difficult to place a precise date on the artifact. However it is likely to have been produced sometime in the 17th or 18th century, and based upon where it was found, it was produced either in Ottoman Turkey and exported to the Crimean (which only a century before was part of the Ottoman Empire), or produced in the Crimean Region itself. In any event, this elaborate piece of Byzantine/Renaissance jewelry is in a very good state of preservation, and is quite wearable. TATAR HISTORY:: The Tatars of the Crimean Black Sea Region are one of the ethnic sub-populations of Russia (present-day Ukraine). Prior to the current era (before 0 A.D.) the vast lands of South Russia were home to various Proto-Indo-European tribes such as the Scythians. Between the third and sixth centuries A.D., the steppes were overwhelmed by successive waves of nomadic invasions when swept through Europe, as was the case with Huns and Turkish Avars. A Turkic people, the Khazars, ruled South Russia through the 8th century. They were important allies of the Byzantine Empire and waged a series of successful wars against the Arab Califates. The Early East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in Western Russia from the 7th century onwards and slowly assimilated the native Finno-Ugric tribes, such as the Merya, the Muromians and the Meshchera. In the mid-9th century, a group of Scandinavians, the Varangians, assumed the role of a ruling elite at the Slavic capital of Novgorod. Although they were quickly assimilated by the predominantly Slavic population, the Varangian dynasty lasted several centuries, during which they affiliated with the Byzantine, or Orthodox church and moved the capital to Kiev in A.D. 882. In the 10th to 11th centuries this state of Kievan Rus became the largest in Europe and one of the most prosperous, due to diversified trade with both Europe and Asia. However the opening of new trade routes with the Orient at the time of the Crusades contributed to the decline and defragmentation of Kievan Rus by the end of the 12th century. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the constant incursions of nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks and the Pechenegs, led to the massive migration of Slavic populations from the fertile south to the heavily forested regions of the north. The medieval states of Novgorod Republic and Vladimir-Suzdal emerged as successors to Kievan Rus, while the middle course of the Volga River came to be dominated by the Muslim state of Volga Bulgaria. Like many other parts of Eurasia, these territories were overrun by the Mongol invaders known as the “Golden Horde”, which would pillage Russia for over three centuries. Later known as the Tatars, they ruled the southern and central expanses of present-day Russia, while the territories of present-day Ukraine and Belarus were incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poland, thus dividing the Russian people in the north from the Belarusians and Ukrainians in the west. The name “Tatars” eventually become a collective name applied to the Turkic people of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The majority of Tatars today live in European Russia, and are the descendants of the Eastern European Volga Bulgars who were conquered by the Mongol invasion of the 13th century. The original Ta-ta Mongols inhabited the north-eastern Gobi in the 5th century and, after subjugation in the 9th century by the Khitans, migrated southward, there founding the Mongol empire under Genghis Khan. Under the leadership of his grandson Batu Khan they moved westwards, driving with them many stems of the Turkic Ural-Altayans towards the plains of Russia. On the Volga they mingled with remnants of the old Bulgarian empire (Volga Bulgaria), and elsewhere with Finno-Ugric speaking peoples, as well as with remnants of the ancient Greek colonies in the Crimea and Caucasians in the Caucasus. The name of Tatars, given to the invaders, was afterwards extended so as to include different stems of the same Turkic-Mongol branch in Russia, and even the bulk of the inhabitants of the high plateau of Asia and its northwestern slopes, described under the general name of Tartary. This name has almost disappeared from geographical literature, but the name Tatars, in the above limited sense, remains in full use. Most current day Tatars live in the central and southern parts of Russia (the majority in Tatarstan), Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, Lithuania, Belarus and in Bulgaria, China, Kazakhstan, Romania, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. They collectively numbered more than 10 million in the late 20th century. The Crimean Tatars may still be found in Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine on the northern coast of the Black Sea occupying the Crimean peninsula. The Crimean Tatars are actually descendants of a number of Turkic peoples. The ethnicity of the Crimean Tatars is quite complex as it absorbed by both nomadic Turkic and European components (in the first place, the Goths and the Genoese) which is still reflected in their appearance and language differences. A small enclave of the Karaims, possibly of Khazar (i.e. Turkic) descent but members of a Jewish sect, was founded in the 8th century. It existed among the Muslim Crimean Tatars, primarily in the mountainous Çufut Qale area. The territory of Crimea was conquered and controlled many times through its history. The Cimmerians, Greeks, Iranians, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Khazars, the state of Kievan Rus', Byzantine Greeks, Kipchaks, and the Mongols all controlled Crimea in its early history. These were followed by the Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Empire in the 15th–18th centuries, the Russian Empire in the 18th–20th centuries, Germany in World War II, and now, the independent Ukrainian state. The Crimean Tatars were forcibly expelled to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin's government, but have begun returning to their homeland in recent years. The ancient Greeks called Crimea Tauris (later Taurica), after its inhabitants, the Tauri. The Greek historian Herodotus mentions that Hercules plowed that land using a huge ox ("taurus"), hence the name of the land. The earliest inhabitants of whom we have any authentic traces were the Cimmerians, who were expelled by the Scythians (Iranians) during the 7th century B.C. The remaining Cimmerians that took refuge in the mountains later became known as the Tauri. According to other historians, the Tauri were known for their savage rituals and piracy, and were also the earliest, indigenous inhabitants of the peninsula. In 5th century B.C., Greek colonists began to settle along the Black Sea coast, among those were the Dorians from Heraclea who founded a sea port of Chersonesos outside Sevastopol, and the Ionians from Miletus who landed at Feodosiya and Panticapaeum (also called Bosporus). Two centuries later (438 B.C.), the Archon (ruler) of the latter settlers assumed the title of the Kings of Cimmerian Bosporus, a state that maintained close relations with Athens, supplying the city with wheat, honey and other commodities. The last of that line of kings, Paerisades V, being hard-pressed by the Scythians, put himself under the protection of Mithridates VI, the king of Pontus, in 114 B.C. After the death of this sovereign, his son, Pharnaces II, was invested by Pompey with the kingdom of Bosporus in 63 B.C. as a reward for the assistance rendered to the Romans in their war against his father. In 15 B.C., it was once again restored to the king of Pontus, but since ranked as a tributary state of Rome. Throughout the later centuries, Crimea was invaded or occupied successively by the Goths (A.D. 250), the Huns (376), the Bulgars (6th century), the Khazars (8th century), the state of Kievan Rus' (10th–11th centuries), the Byzantine Greeks (1016), the Kipchaks (the Kumans) (1050), and the Mongols (1237). In the 13th century, the Republic of Genoa seized the settlements which their rivals, the Venetians, had built along the Crimean coast and established themselves at Cembalo, Soldaia, Cherco and Caffa, gaining control of the Crimean economy and the Black Sea commerce for two centuries. After the destruction of the Golden Horde by Timur in 1441, the Crimean Tatars founded an independent Crimean Khanate under Hacı I Giray, a descendant of Genghis Khan. The Crimean Tatars controlled the steppes that stretched from the Kuban and to the Dniester River, however, they were unable to take control over commercial Genoese towns. After the Crimean Tatars asked for help from the Ottomans, an Ottoman invasion of the Genoese towns led by Gedik Ahmed Pasha in 1475 brought Kaffa and the other trading towns under their control. In 1774, The Crimean Khans fell under the Russian influence in the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca. In 1783, entire Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire. HISTORY OF AGATE: Agate is named after its ancient source, the Achates River in Sicily, now known as the Drillo River, which remains a major source of this gemstone. The gemstone was so named by the 4th century B.C. ancient Greek Philosopher/Naturalist Theophrastus, who “discovered” the stone along the shore line of the river (there’s a dissenting opinion that the word agate is derived from the Greek word "agateес" – meaning happy). The Greeks used agate for making jewelry and beads. Ancient Greek mariners wore amulets of agate to protect against the perils of the sea. The Ancient Greeks also used agate to relieve stomach pains and diarrhea. However agate had already been used for by man for decorative and amuletic purposes for thousands of years prior to the ancient Greeks, first by Stone Age man in France around 25,000 B.C. Archaeological discoveries demonstrate that the ancient Egyptians used agate well prior to 3,000 B.C. for talismans, amulets, seals, rings and vessels. In the Ptolemaic Period (fourth century B.C. to first century A.D.) the ancient Egyptians carved agate carved into scarabs. The ancient Egyptians believed that gray agate when worn around the neck would protect against and heal stiffness of the neck. Agate was also extremely popular for use in jewelry in ancient Sumer, and agate was amongst the archaeological artifacts excavated at the Knossos site on Crete evidencing its use by the Bronze Age Minoan culture (about 1,800 B.C.). Persian magicians were believed to possess the power to divert storms through the use of agate talismans. Ancient Persians also believed that agate would confer eloquence upon the wearer. The ancient Persians (as well as other ancient Near Eastern cultures) also used agate as an antidote to fevers by placing the agate in the mouth. It was said to relieve thirst and reduce body temperature. The ancient Babylonians used red agate to treat insect bites and stings, green agate to treat eye infections, and black agate (onyx) to protect women from disease. Agate talismans were worn in the Ancient Middle East to keep the blood healthy. In ancient Asia, agates were used by seers and magicians to see into the future. Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in many other ancient cultures. It was said to quench thirst and protect from fevers. Another widespread belief in the ancient world was that wearing agate as a talisman would render the wearer invisible, thereby protecting the wearer from danger. Athletes throughout the ancient world wore agate amulets with the belief that agate would give them extra energy during competition and help them recover their strength afterwards. Agate was also worn by various ancient cultures as protection against drowning, falling, mischievous fairies and poison, and was also believed an effective talisman to protect young children from harm. Farmers in many ancient civilizations (including the Romans) wore agate talismans to ensure a good harvest. The Romans, as well as the ancient Greeks, made extensive use of agate in their production of cameos and intaglio seals (as in signet rings). Moss agate, according to the Romans, had a divine power and an agate stone was used to grind ingredients for lotions and other ointments on, believing it would improve one's eyesight and/or disposition. A famous collection of four thousand agate bowls that was accumulated by Mithradates, king of Pontus (Hellenic Turkey)Hellenic Turkey) is illustrative of the high value the ancient world had for agate. Agate bowls were also popular in the Byzantine Empire. Collecting agate bowls became common among European royalty during the Renaissance and many museums in Europe, including the Louvre, have spectacular examples. Early Celts in Britain used the gem to prevent skin disease, and in Celtic mythology orange agate was believed to be a powerful protection against Dragons. The Vikings and Saxons used agate to find lost items by ax and stone, a method of divination known as “axinomancy”. A double-headed ax would be made red-hot and then the shaft pushed into a hole. A round agate pebble would then be placed on the upright ax head. If the pebble stayed on top of the ax, the questioner had to look elsewhere for the lost item. If the pebble fell to the ground, the questioner had to follow the direction of the rolling stone to find the missing item. During the Roman wars with the Gauls (in the first century B.C.), agate deposits were discovered along the Nahe river (a tributary to the Rhine) in Germany. The gem-cutting facilities set up there by the Romans survived until present day and, although the deposits are now depleted, the city of Idar-Oberstein on the Nahe river is still the major lapidary center of Europe. Particularly from the 16th century onwards, huge quantities of cameos were cut from agate where layers of different colors occurred within the stone. The background material was cut away, leaving the cameo design in relief. In the Middle Ages and through to the Renaissance agate was worn as a talisman in the belief it could prevent harm from thunder and lightening, sorcery, poison, drunkenness and demonic possession. Medieval shamans and sorcerers believed that agate allow them to divine the truth. Agate was also believed to remove curses and spells, and to help eliminate bad luck. In Renaissance Europe, agate was believed to have a calming effect during times of stress and to give the wearer strength and courage. Renaissance-era artists and writers wore agate in the belief it would enhance creativity. Wearing agate was also believed to improve vitality and physical strength, relieve headache pain, ensure marital and romantic fidelity, stimulate the intellect, and suppress anger. Agate was prized in Czarist Russia as a stone of long life, good health and prosperity. Agate is a variety of chalcedony quartz composed of colorful microscopic crystals of quartz occurring in bands of varying color and transparency. Most agates start as gas bubble cavities in eruptive rocks or ancient lava. Silica laden water seeps into the bubbles and coagulates to a silica gel, eventually crystallizing as quartz. Agate is found in a wide variety of patterns and beautiful colors, and can be transparent to opaque. Many fossils (such as petrified wood, petrified coral, and even dinosaur bones) are agatized material where the original organic substance has been replaced by agate while retaining the original structure. The primary sources of agate today are Brazil, Uruguay, China, India, Madagascar, Mexico, the Ural Mountains of Russia, and the USA. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. In the ancient world it was believed that wearing agate made a person agreeable, happy, and cautious yet brave. Ancient cultures used it as a talisman as it was believed to bestow on the wearer protection against all dangers. White agate was used as a cure for insomnia and guaranteed pleasant dreams. Agate was also believed to improve memory and concentration, increase stamina and encourage honesty, as well as aiding wearers to remain calm and focused. Contemporary practitioners attribute agate with fostering the ability to discover one's natural talents, enhancing analytical ability, and improving perceptiveness. It is believed to create a healthy balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual state of the wearer. Agate is reported to be an aid in overcoming fears and loneliness. It helps one view themselves with more clarity and view the world with a broader perspective. It is claimed to eliminate and cleanse “negative energies” from the body, and is thought to stimulate fertility and to be effective in treating bone marrow ailments and allergies. Due to the association with precision, agates are touted as useful talismans for accountants and bankers. And as in the distant past, agate is still considered an effective talisman which will increase wealth, good luck, long life, courage and strength; and to help protect and heal the wearer. HISTORY OF SILVER: After gold, silver is the metal most widely used in jewelry and the most malleable. The oldest silver artifacts found by archaeologists date from ancient Sumeria about 4,000 B.C. At many points in the ancient world, it was actually more costly than gold, particularly in ancient Egypt. Silver is found in native form (i.e., in nuggets), as an alloy with gold (electrum), and in ores containing sulfur, arsenic, antimony or chlorine. Much of the silver originally found in the ancient world was actually a natural alloy of gold and silver (in nugget form) known as “electrum”. The first large-scale silver mines were in Anatolia (ancient Turkey) and Armenia, where as early as 4,000 B.C. silver was extracted from lead ores by means of a complicated process known as “smelting”. Even then the process was not perfect, as ancient silver does contain trace elements, typically lead, gold, bismuth and other metals, and as much as a third of the silver was left behind in the slag. However measuring the concentrations of the “impurities” in ancient silver can help the forensic jewelry historian in determining the authenticity of classical items. From Turkey and Armenia silver refining technology spread to the rest of Asia Minor and Europe. By about 2,500 B.C. the Babylonians were one of the major refiners of silver. Silver “treasures” recovered by archaeologists from the second and third millenniums demonstrate the high value the ancient Mediterranean and Near East placed upon silver. Some of the richest burials in history uncovered by archaeologists have been from this time frame, that of Queen Puabi of Ur, Sumeria (26th century B.C.); Tuankhamun (14th century B.C.), and the rich Trojan (25th century B.C.) and Mycenaean (18th century B.C.) treasures uncovered by Heinrich Schliemann. The ancient Egyptians believed that the skin of their gods was composed of gold, and their bones were thought to be of silver. When silver was introduced into Egypt, it probably was more valuable than gold (silver was rarer and more valuable than gold in many Mesoamerican cultures as well). In surviving inventories of valuables, items of silver were listed above those of gold during the Old Kingdom. Jewelry made of silver was almost always thinner than gold pieces, as indicated by the bracelets of the 4th Dynasty (about 2,500 B.C.) Queen Hetephere I, in marked contrast to the extravagance of her heavy gold jewelry. A silver treasure excavated by archaeologists and attributable to the reign of Amenemhat II who ruled during the 12th Dynasty (about 1900 B.C.), contained fine silver items which were actually produced in Crete, by the ancient Minoans. When the price of silver finally did fall due to more readily available supplies, for at least another thousand years (through at least the 19th dynasty, about 1,200 B.C.) the price of silver seems to have been fixed at half that of gold. Several royal mummies attributable to about 1,000 B.C. were even entombed in solid silver coffins. Around 1,000 B.C. Greek Athenians began producing silver from the Laurium mines, and would supply much of the ancient Mediterranean world with its silver for almost 1,000 years. This ancient source was eventually supplemented around 800 B.C. (and then eventually supplanted) by the massive silver mines found in Spain by the Phoenicians and their colony (and ultimate successors) the Carthaginians (operated in part by Hannibal’s family). With the defeat of Carthage by Rome, the Romans gained control of these vast deposits, and mined massive amounts of silver from Spain, stripping entire forests regions for timber to fuel smelting operations. In fact, it was not until the Middle Ages that Spain’s silver mines (and her forests) were finally exhausted. Although known during the Copper Age, silver made only rare appearances in jewelry before the classical age. Despite its infrequent use as jewelry however, silver was widely used as coinage due to its softness, brilliant color, and resistance to oxidation. Silver alloyed with gold in the form of “electrum” was coined to produce money around 700 B.C. by the Lydians of present-day Turkey. Having access to silver deposits and being able to mine them played a big role in the classical world. Actual silver coins were first produced in Lydia about 610 B.C., and subsequently in Athens in about 580 B.C. Many historians have argued that it was the possession and exploitation of the Laurium mines by the Athenians that allowed them to become the most powerful city state in Greece. The Athenians were well aware of the significance of the mining operations to the prosperity of their city, as every citizen had shares in the mines. Enough silver was mined and refined at Laurium to finance the expansion of Athens as a trading and naval power. One estimate is that Laurium produced 160 million ounces of silver, worth six billion dollars today (when silver is by comparison relatively cheap and abundant). As the production of silver from the Laurium mines ultimately diminished, Greek silver production shifted to mines in Macedonia. Silver coinage played a significant role in the ancient world. Macedonia’s coinage during the reign of Philip II (359-336 B.C.) circulated widely throughout the Hellenic world. His famous son, Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.), spread the concept of coinage throughout the lands he conquered. For both Philip II and Alexander silver coins became an essential way of paying their armies and meeting other military expenses. They also used coins to make a realistic portrait of the ruler of the country. The Romans also used silver coins to pay their legions. These coins were used for most daily transactions by administrators and traders throughout the empire. Roman silver coins also served as an important means of political propaganda, extolling the virtues of Rome and her emperors, and continued in the Greek tradition of realistic portraiture. As well, many public works and architectural achievements were also depicted (among them the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus). In addition many important political events were recorded on the coinage. You can Romaan coins which depicted the assassination of Julius Caesar, alliances between cities, between emperors, between armies, etc. And many contenders for the throne of Rome are known only through their coinage. Silver was also widely used as ornamental work and in other metal wares. In ancient cultures, especially in Rome, silver was highly prized for the making of plate ware, household utensils, and ornamental work. The stability of Rome’s economy and currency depended primarily on the output of the silver mines in Spain which they had wrested from the Carthaginians. In fact many historians would say that it was the control of the wealth of these silver mines which enabled Rome to conquer most of the Mediterranean world. When in 55 B.C. the Romans invaded Britain they were quick to discover and exploit the lead-silver deposits there as well. Only six years later they had established many mines and Britain became another major source of silver for the Roman Empire. It is estimated that by the second century A.D., 10,000 tons of Roman silver coins were in circulation within the empire. That’s about 3½ billion silver coins (at the height of the empire, there were over 400 mints throughout the empire producing coinage). That’s ten times the total amount of silver available to Medieval Europe and the Islamic world combined as of about 800 A.D. Silver later lost its position of dominance to gold, particularly in the chaos following the fall of Rome. Large-scale mining in Spain petered out, and when large-scale silver mining finally resumed four centuries after the fall of Rome, most of the mining activity was in Central Europe. By the time of the European High Middle Ages, silver once again became the principal material used for metal artwork. Huge quantities of silver from the New World also encouraged eager buyers in Europe, and enabled the Spanish to become major players in the late Medieval and Renaissance periods. Unlike the ores in Europe which required laborious extraction and refining methods to result in pure silver, solid silver was frequently found as placer deposits in stream beds in Spain’s “New World” colonies, reportedly in some instances solid slabs weighing as much as 2,500 pounds. Prior to the discovery of massive silver deposits in the New World, silver had been valued during the Middle Ages at about 10%-15% of the value of gold. In 15th century the price of silver is estimated to have been around $1200 per ounce, based on 2010 dollars. The discovery of massive silver deposits in the New World during the succeeding centuries has caused the price to diminish greatly, falling to only 1-2% of the value of gold. The art of silver work flourished in the Renaissance, finding expression in virtually every imaginable form. Silver was often plated with gold and other decorative materials. Although silver sheets had been used to overlay wood and other metals since ancient Greece, an 18th-century technique of fusing thin silver sheets to copper brought silver goods called Sheffield plate within the reach of most people. At the same time the use of silver in jewelry making had also started gaining popularity in the 17th century. It was often as support in settings for diamonds and other transparent precious stones, in order to encourage the reflection of light. Silver continued to gain in popularity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and by the 20th century competed with gold as the principal metal used in the manufacture of jewelry. Silver has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of any metal, and one of the highest optical reflectivity values. It has a brilliant metallic luster, is very ductile and malleable, only slightly harder than gold, and is easily worked and polished. When used in jewelry, silver is commonly alloyed to include 7.5% copper, known as “Sterling Silver”, to increase the hardness and reduce the melting temperature. Silver jewelry may be plated with 99.9% pure ‘Fine Silver’ to increase the shine when polished. It may also be plated with rhodium to prevent tarnish. Virtually all gold, with the exception of 24 carat gold, includes silver. Most gold alloys are primarily composed of only gold and silver. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. Precious minerals were likewise considered to have medicinal and “magical” properties in the ancient world. In its pure form silver is non toxic, and when mixed with other elements is used in a wide variety of medicines. Silver ions and silver compounds show a toxic effect on some bacteria, viruses, algae and fungi. Silver was widely used before the advent of antibiotics to prevent and treat infections, silver nitrate being the prevalent form. Silver Iodide was used in babies' eyes upon birth to prevent blinding as the result of bacterial contamination. Silver is still widely used in topical gels and impregnated into bandages because of its wide-spectrum antimicrobial activity. The recorded use of silver to prevent infection dates to ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates, the ancient (5th century B.C.) Greek "father of medicine" wrote that silver had beneficial healing and anti-disease properties. The ancient Phoenicians stored water, wine, and vinegar in silver bottles to prevent spoiling. These uses were “rediscovered” in the Middle Ages, when silver was used for several purposes; such as to disinfect water and food during storage, and also for the treatment of burns and wounds as a wound dressing. The ingestion of colloidal silver was also believed to help restore the body's “electromagnetic balance” to a state of equilibrium, and it was believed to detoxify the liver and spleen. In the 19th century sailors on long ocean voyages would put silver coins in barrels of water and wine to keep the liquid potable. Silver (and gold) foil is also used through the world as a food decoration. Traditional Indian dishes sometimes include the use of decorative silver foil, and in various cultures silver dragée (silver coated sugar balls) are used to decorate cakes, cookies, and other dessert items. Domestic shipping (insured first class mail) is included in the price shown. Domestic shipping also includes USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site). Canadian shipments are an extra $17.99 for Insured Air Mail; International shipments are an extra $21.99 for Air Mail (and generally are NOT tracked; trackable shipments are EXTRA). ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per item so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. If you intend to pay via PayPal, please be aware that PayPal Protection Policies REQUIRE insured, trackable shipments, which is INCLUDED in our price. International tracking is at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world – but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the “business” of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly – even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." Color: Antique Silver, Material: Antique Silver, Main Stone: White Agate, Jewelry: Renaissance Era Ring

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