Northern Europe, Viking, ca. 10th to 11th century CE. A magnificent Viking ring comprised of 97.85% gold (equivalent to 23K+ gold) with an ample finely decorated section that is meticulously punched with concentric circles in bas relief nicely arranged in a central cross formation which is surrounded by borders of impressed square motifs, followed by bosses arranged in L-shaped and reverse L-shaped formations, with a few impressed triangles adorned by central bosses. This section gradually narrows to a wrapped gold wire shank. A striking example, replete with impressive workmanship and artistry. Size: 0.95" W x 0.9" H (2.4 cm x 2.3 cm); US ring size: 8.75; total weight: 9.1 grams. Gold quality: 97.85% gold, equivalent to over 23 karat
Many Vikings did not have a standard minted currency available to them; instead they kept their wealth in the form of jewelry made from precious metals. Scholars believe that a popular practice was to amass a hoard of these objects and then deposit them, often in water sources like rivers. Gold rings - like all gold objects - were apparently quite rare, only found in graves of the highest status. In pagan Viking culture, so roughly before the turn of the millennium, gold rings were used to swear oaths on and as markers of the godi, members of the Thing (governing assembly); some scholars have speculated that their deposition in hoards was an attempt to save them from violation with the coming sweep of Christianity.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg) and then Latvia collection; found on the Baltic Sea coast prior to 1982
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