Antique Medieval 15th Century Large Gilt Bronze Papal Ring With Nativity

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A Very Rare antique Medieval 15th century large gilt bronze Papal ring with Nativity.

The ring is made of cast and gold-gilded bronze, hand-chiseled, engraved, and drilled. It is formed of a ring with cut sides and enlarged ends chiseled with foliage frames.

A rectangular bezel is chiseled in relief with a Nativity scene depicting the Virgin and Child with the heads of the donkey. The ox appears under the roof, surmounted in the corners by two flowers.

Inscriptions engraved on the ring: The sides of the ring are engraved with three parallel inscriptions. In the center, DEUS AQU, on the border, AVE MARIA GRA+IA, and on the other side, AVE MARIA GRATIA PE (Translation from Latin: Ave, María, Grátia Plena into English: Hail Mary, Full Of Grace).

An identical ring is in the collection of The Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Please see the link below:

After comparing the ring at hand with the one in the Louvre Museum, it is evident that both rings were crafted by the same jeweler. These two rings are the only known examples of this ring pattern worldwide.

NOTE: This style of ring, commonly called a Papal ring, is typically large and made of gold gilt bronze. It often depicts the emblems of popes, cardinals, or other ecclesiastical symbols.

They have been used during investitures or when granting letters of credence or diplomatic credentials. The Pope gave them as a safe conduct to Vatican diplomats and couriers, mainly cardinals and bishops, whom popes sent to other church personalities and sovereigns.

The rings were designed to be quite sizable, as they were intended to be worn on gloves. They were purposefully crafted from gilt bronze with the specific purpose of verifying the messenger's identity, but they were not valuable enough to attract the attention of potential thieves.

Several known Papal rings dating back to the 15th century are on display in the Vatican Museum and other museums.

For other Papal rings, please see the links below:

MEASUREMENTS: 3.8 cm x 3.5 cm x 2.5 cm (1.5 inches x 1.38 inches x 0.98 inches)

Item Details

Reference #:
Antiques (approx100yrs)
15th century
(Width x Height X Depth)
x x
Gold Gilt Bronze