The Adoration of the Magi
They came from the East, the three wise men, Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior, bearing gifts for the Christ child. On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they fell down and worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
This is quite an extraordinary devotional ring, a type I have not seen before and of which I cannot find a parallel example in reference books or extensive museum collections. It is Renaissance period, circa 1650 – 1680. The high carat gold decorative hoop supports a compartment set with miniature gold relief, three dimensional figures of the Three Magi, bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child. Two Magi are standing and one supplicates on the ground in front of Mary holding the Christ child. The incredible detail of the microscopic figures can only be appreciated with the use of a magnifying glass. The figures are on a black enamel ground and the scene is covered by a domed rock crystal. The reverse of the ring is enamelled with the sacred Christogram, IHS, an ancient form of Jesus Christ. The Christogram is surmounted by a cross and has three nails, a symbol of the Passion, below it. The ring is size L [US 5 and 7/8] and has survived in remarkably intact condition. Quite remarkable.