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From Dan

July 2012

I've attached a few photos of a ring.  I did find a sketch of a similar ring in a book called "The Viking Age" by Du Chaillu,

Thank you very much!



I forgot to add that the ring is 21 grams and over 1 inch wide at the shield.  Average in diameter, but can fit on my ring finger.



Indeed , looks just lke the Viking  gold rings found at Verdalen in Norway.

This book is to be found here....

and here



The weight seems a little light for a gold ring  of this size.

Needs testing to make sure it is gold.

The semiprecious stones look somewhat unscratched especially given that the gold does look scratched.

I think some close  up views would be useful.



 This Viking gold arm ring was found in the Sound of Jura.


Some Viking gold artefacts certainly are of rather lower gold content.

This gold Viking  ring was discovered by a farmer digging a drainage ditch in Sedburgh, Cumbria. Surface metal analysis by XRF conducted at the British Museum indicated an approximate gold content for the ring of 83-86%, a silver content of 11-14%, and a copper content of 2-4%.


Some close up pic of the ring in question.


 From Luis

Hi, Bron


black stone in the middle....a tiny chip could say if modern: if it is a modern treated agate with sugar and then burnt, traces of carbon could be attested. If so, stone is modern and then mount is modern as stone, or is a modern setting.


The others look as carnelian. But this carnelian looks to me as the carnelian coming from India, that is also modern, dome heating a kind of agate that changes this way.


All in all, stones look to me modern. In foto I could not see that bezel has been reworked, so, unless bezels have been reworked I would say that is modern.


On the other side, gold is datable absolutely.

So, is one of the few pieces that could be said date of last melting...

A sample in welded places, and we will know when it has been welded....  :-)




From kyri.


what i would say is that fakers often copy published pieces, to find a ring exactly the same as one already published would ring alarm bells for me.


More pics.

Alas, these tend to suggest that it is not  ancient. 



From GB


I say the same as Kyri:
Looks modern and I thought also that it was copied from a published piece.

I didn`t like the stones neither .
Interested to know if it is really gold.
It was just my inner voice saying fake.
I would keep my fingers away from it!


From Dan 

All stones are loose, glued in place.  The middle stone is garnet.  Two of the stones are probably old, judging by the profile (not uniform in shape) the other one is modern


If it does turn out to be gold, maybe only  an XRF analysis showing that the gold alloy is consistent with attested Viking  gold will tell us. There is information  available about gold alloys used by the Vikings in jewellery. Even if the results were not matchable we should be able to find out if the gold is highly refined modern gold or not.


 From Sammy


i have seen many of the exact same rings over the years they are all hand made in Usbekistan some made of gold
exactly like this one with the exact same design ,others are made in silver or white metal, or brass that has been tinned, they are very modern, and are
often seen on ebay for sale, ebay ID ancient treasures sells them at different times, many of different designs, but many with the exact same design, by looking
at the photo of this ring in my opinion it is most likely it is one of the same.



 From Henry


I find myself in agreement with Tim, Bron, and Krikmyk (sp?).  Any piece which almost exactly replicates a known - and published - piece is immediately suspect.  It takes lots of knowledge and skill to come up with an original "antique" design that will pass scrutiny, but it's very easy to just copy one that has already been authenticated.  By contrast, I'm not sure that the purity of the metal says much about its authenticity - electrum was routinely used in the past and pure gold (24k) is rather rare, particularly in jewelry.  By contrast, the stones are a concern - stone grinding was relatively primitive by modern standards (and "chip cutting" almost non-existent, meaning that any faceted stones are immediately suspect).  These stones are beautifully contoured and while that is not an absolute proof that it is a fraud, it is a "red flag" (take a look at the "Black Prince's Ruby" - actually a spinel - in the Crown Jewels and you'll see what I mean).   Put simply, I would not immediately reject this out of hand, but I would definitely demand further investigation, of the stones, the metal, and the construction (which, unfortunately, is rather hard to do with a couple photos).


 From Dan

I contacted a local jeweler who was able to test the ring.  It isn't a conclusive as xrf, but it did give some information.  The machine could not tell the breakdown of metals but was able to give an approximate kt. rating.  He did say that the ring is made up of several different values of gold.  Some parts are of higher gold content, others of lesser content.  Because of this, it was hard to get a gold value but the rating came back with a karat rating of 14 to 18 kt.  Does this help with your assessment?


That's odd really.

The info I can find about Viking gold points to a high purity: 22/23 carats

Though admittedly as I mentioned above the gold Viking  ring discovered by a farmer in Sedburgh, Cumbria showed by XRF an approximate gold content for the ring of 83-86%, a silver content of 11-14%, and a copper content of 2-4%.  But that is still 20 carat gold.

18 karat gold =

75.00% gold

25.00% other alloy

17 karat gold =

70.83% gold

29.17% other alloy

16 karat gold =

66.67% gold

33.33% other alloy

15 karat gold =

62.50% gold

37.50% other alloy

14 karat gold =

58.33% gold

41.67% other alloy

Also the variation from one part to another is very odd.

It should be constant. Gold alloy is homogenous.

The only such possible variations one might not be surprised at  is if a complex piece was made up from different parts, using slightly different alloys.

But apart from the possibility of say the gold sheet around the semi-precious stones being of a different allow, the entire ring appears to be  essentially one piece.

But now that I look at the enlarged pics again I see that the supposedly applied beaded wire is might not be so: it looks like a semi-molton gold wire was set around the bezel and then when still soft , simply dented and crimped intermittently with a tool.

I don't know enough (indeed much at all!) about Viking jewellery techniques but certainly if seen, say,  in a Roman piece it would suggest fakery.



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