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Inscribed Sapphire Ring, Italian, late 14th century (setting); 10th century? (sapphire). Gold, sapphire. Height 30.8 mm; hoop outer diam. 27.89 mm; bezel 16.15 x 17.4 mm; weight 23.5 grams; US size 7.25; UK size O. Griffin Collection, L.2015.73.3. © 2000–2017 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Many rings employ stones repurposed from other pieces of jewelry. This extraordinary ring showcases a large sapphire inscribed in Arabic with the name: “Abd as-Salam ibn Ahmad.” The stone, engraved centuries before the ring was created, was clearly highly prized. Sapphire, which was quarried in Ceylon, Arabia, and Persia, came west through trade. The stone was associated with chastity and purity. A second inscription reads: “For love you were made and for love I wear you.” This work, with its mixture of eastern and western elements, is among one of the rarest in the Griffin Collection.