An Ancient Roman cast bronze key ring featuring a round-section loop with a slight break to the band and a perpendicular bezel composed of a complete, raised key.
The Romans were skilled locksmiths and produced finger-rings in the form of keys. The different shapes of the wards suggest that they were intended for use as keys rather than being merely decorative. Key rings may have been widely used across the Roman Empire because Roman clothing did not generally have pockets. These ring keys opened small boxes or caskets of personal possessions such as jewellery boxes, rather than opening larger doors. It is possible that they were worn particularly by women, perhaps after marriage as a sign of their new status. Ring keys might also have had an amuletic significance, relating to the power of the key to both protect and to reveal.
Measurements: 1.8cm internal diameter, closest UK ring size O.
Provenance: Ex Spanish collection, JV Gallery, Madrid, acquired 1970s-90s.
- Ancient Roman
- Key Ring
- Century/ Timeframe
- Circa 1st - 4th century AD
- Damage, See Photo