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Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring

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Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring

$2,800.00


Description

DATE: Victorian, 1868

A spectacular sardonyx intaglio signet ring carved with the hideous face of Medusa. With snakes for hair, and a face that would turn any who gazed upon it to stone, Medusa is the best known of the three monstrous Gorgon sisters. The earliest known reference to the Gorgons is found in Hesiod's Theogony, but it was Ovid who really fleshed out the story in the Metamorphoses, where he describes Medusa in her youth:

"Medusa once had charms; to gain her love
A rival crowd of envious lovers strove.
They, who have seen her, own, they ne'er did trace
More moving features in a sweeter face.
Yet above all, her length of hair, they own,
In golden ringlets wav'd, and graceful shone."

Her beauty caught the eye of Poseidon, who forced himself upon her in a shrine to Athena. Athena was furious; she turned Medusa's hair into snakes, and made her face so hideous that anyone who saw it was instantly turned to stone (literally petrified). In most versions of the story, Medusa was killed by Perseus who was given various items to help him on his quest: a mirrored shield from Athena, a sword forged by Hephaestus, and Hades's helm of invisibility. While looking at the reflection in the shield, Perseus was able to behead the Gorgon, at which point Pegasus flew out of her severed neck. He went on to use her head - which retained its petrifying effect - as a weapon, using it to transform the Titan Atlas into stone (where he still stands in North Africa as the Atlas Mountains), before eventually giving it to Athena.

Although Medusa is commonly regarded as a monster, her head has often been seen as a protective amulet to keep evil away. Indeed, the name Medusa comes from the ancient Green word meaning "to guard or protect".

This signet ring is modelled in 15 karat gold, with clear English hallmarks precisely dating it to the year 1868.

STONES 

Sardonyx

MEASUREMENTS 

Head: 1.4 x 1.2cm

Width of band: 3.4mm

WEIGHT 

5.8g

MARKS 

English hallmarks for 15k gold, Birmingham 1868

CONDITION 

Very good, with fine antique patina

Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring Victorian Medusa Intaglio Signet Ring