Ring Physical Object

Accession Number
Alternate object names
Emerald & Gold Ring;Gold Ring
Creation Date
circa 1550 – 1600
This large gold ring has a fluted tapering shank engraved with panels of conjoined scrolls; the deep hexagonal bezel is set with a large conformingly-cut emerald from Colombia’s Muzo region.

The ring was recovered with emerald cross (1986.008.0005) inside pewter reliquary box (1986.008.0007).

16.59 g Weight

3.2 x 2.7 x 1.8 cm. 2.2 cm ring hole. 3.2 cm. in diameter.

Exhibition Label
Case/Object Caption (2023): 

Cross And Ring
Gold with emeralds and traces of enamel (Colombia, c.1620)
Gifts of Jamestown Inc.
1986.008.0005, 1986.008.0006

Reliquary Box
Pewter (c.1600)
Gift of Jamestown Inc.

This magnificent cross might have been destined for a high-ranking member of the Spanish court. However, both cross and ring were discovered on the wreck site of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha inside this reliquary. Possibly the box and its contents were intended to be a gift for the Pope, Gregory XV. The box bears his initials, ABL, Alessandro Boncampagni Ludovisi, who died in 1623.

The saint depicted on the back of the cross is most likely St. Anthony of Padua. Decorations feature tropical fruit such as coconuts, pineapples, and mangoes, indicating that this cross was made in the Americas by an Indigenous craftsman. The emeralds on both cross and ring are from Colombia’s Muzo mines.