New Kingdom, Ramesside
ca. 1295–1186 B.C.
Signet Ring with Phoenix Motif
early 9th–14th century
Why go to Tiffany’s for a wedding band when you have one grown from your own bones? That’s what five British couples did this spring, starting with a trip to the hospital for a quick jaw biopsy to retrieve bone cells. The idea - a romantic experiment dubbed biojewelry - is the love child of Tobie Kerridge and Nikki Stott, design researchers at the Royal College of Art, and Ian Thompson, a bioengineer at Kings College London. The trio used a four-step process (below) to coax the cells into skeletal symbols of everlasting devotion. It takes months. In September, the jewelry - plus still photos and a time-lapse video of the process - will go on display at Guy’s Hospital in London. After that, the betrothed get the rings for keeps. “I love the idea that it’s precious only to us because it is, literally, us,” says Harriet Harris, one of the participants. “It’s almost worthless to anyone else.” You can’t say that about platinum.
1. Extract bone chips from jaw. Rinse.
2. Place bone cells in ring-shaped bioactive ceramic scaffold.
3. Feed liquid nutrients and culture in a temperature-controlled bioreactor for six weeks.
4. After coral-like bone forms fully around scaffold, pare down to final ring shape and insert silver liner (for engraving).
Some Links about it:http://www.mohdi.com/2007/01/23/bone-wedding-ring/
Armlet or Anklet
11th century, Fatimid period, Syria
Gallery label: This rare armlet or anklet dates from the reign of the Fatimids in Egypt and Syria (909-1171). It is made from a hollow tube joined together on the inner side with a seam that is camouflaged by a band of decoration. Inscribed with anonymous good wishes in the kufic script, this impressive piece of adornment is another example of the luxury and material prosperity of the Fatimid dynasty.
The Fatimid dynasty is considered to be on the tail end of the Islamic Golden Age, prospering in aesthetics, sciences, and philosophy, and though they originated in Tunisia, their territory encompassed all of northern Africa (including Egypt) into Syria. However, they were mostly prevented from expanding by the Syrian desert. This kept their capital set in Cairo opposing the Abassid dynasty capital in Baghdad, Sunni while the Fatimids were Shi’ites. But interesting cross-cultural influence fortunately still occurred. This piece of jewelry appears to employ Byzantine shaping techniques on the tube, but with Egypt’s distinctly delicate filigree on the center pendant, and while kufic script was used in both Islamic regions, admittedly I can’t quite tell if this is the more hard-lined African kufic or the more calligraphic Arabic kufic (though I’d assume the former.)
The Fatimid dynasty ended when the Abassid leader Salahadin took Cairo, thus beginning the Ayubbid dynasty. Unfortunately, following his death, the Islamic empire began to split, and in the 13th century the Mongols defeated the subsequent Khwarezmian dynasty and took Baghdad.
Gimmel ring. 1600-50, Europe. Gold enamel set with diamond and semi precious stone. The hand mechanism twists to unlock and the ring collapses into three interlocking bands.
Tortoiseshell kanzashi, bat, c. 1880.
Asante, 19th century
The British Museum
“Gold ornaments of the Asante were often shaped into animals, birds, fish and fruit. Goldsmiths were highly specialized craftsmen who in the nineteenth century enjoyed royal patronage. They could cast major items of adornment for senior chiefs only with the permission of the Asantehene, the King of the Asante, who received taxes for the manufacture of the item.
The goldsmiths used the lost wax method to manufacture complex and delicate shapes. The item to be cast in metal is first modelled in wax and a clay mould built around it. A hole is made through the mould then heated until the wax melts and is poured out. Molten metal is then poured through the hole into the cavity. Once cooled and hardened the mould is broken open and the casting removed and cleaned.:
Posting because a) really beautiful gold elephants and b) the culture Asa is named after!
The Carew Spinel
Mughal, 17th century
The Victoria & Albert Museum