A Private Collection of Post Medieval Gold Jewellery Discovered in Jamaica, West Indies

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Date of Auction: 4th September 2018

Sold for £1,500

Estimate: £800 - £1,200

An unusual 16th-17th century ring in the form of a lizard or salamander, the bezel modelled as the reptile, his tail forming the shank of the ring and looping back around his neck, with incised scale detail, in yellow gold, ring size O. £800-1200


Lizards and salamanders were popular motifs across European jewellery and decorative arts in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were considered to have protective properties and symbolic significance. The salamander was especially revered for its fabled ability to both live in and quench fire. Zoomorphic jewels, including lizards and salamanders were particularly popular and highly prized in Spain. There is a very fine example of a salamander brooch, set with Colombian emeralds, within the Cheapside Hoard collection at the Museum of London, dating to the late 16th-early 17th century.

See: Forsyth, H., The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels, Museum of London, 2013.