Friday, February 22, 2013

Ring Sold at Christie’s Might Have Been Designed by a Freemason (Part 1)

Georgian Era Serpent Mourning Ring, 1836
for Nathan Meyer de Rothschild
Copyright 2012 Christie's

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

The stunning antique mourning ring sold for a surprising $11,021 during Christie’s Jewellery Auction, which was held in London on January 16, 2013.

Estimated to bring in $2,300-3,000, the spectacular gold, ruby, and enamel antique ring was made in 1836 to commemorate the death of the famous banker and financier, Nathan Meyer de Rothschild (1777-1836).

Fashioned into a coiled snake eating its tail, the 18kt gold ring is replete with black enamel scales and cabochon ruby eyes. A detailed engraving on the inside of the band reads: “In Memory of N, M, de Rothschild, Died 28th July 1836. Aged 59, Hallmarked London, 1836, finger size N.”

In 1811, Mr. Rothschild established N M Rothschild & Sons, a multinational investment banking company in London. Having already amassed a significant fortune in the early 1800s, Rothschild was able to fully lend his support to the British efforts during the Napoleonic Wars.


1. Alderman, Geoffrey. Modern British Jewry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
2. Kaplan, Herbert H. Nathan Mayer Rothschild and the Creation of a Dynasty: The Critical Years, 1806-1816. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.
3. Meij, W.B. Harold. “Symbolism of the Snake.” The Masonic Trowel, accessed January 30, 2013.
4. “Ouroboros.” Crystal Links, accessed January 30, 2013.
5. Saladin F. The Babylonian Code – Vol. One: The Unholy Scriptures. Norderstedt Germany: GRIN Verlag, 2011.
6. “Sale 8127/Lot 183.” Christie’s, accessed January 30, 2013.


  1. Wow, can't imagine wearing a snakey ring--intriguing history.

    1. Wait until you read the conclusion! I can't imagine wearing one either, but they became immensely popular shortly after this one was made!