Tuesday 12 March 2013

A tinkling piece of pottery and a tinkling ring


A tinkling piece of pottery

A reader suggested that the rings on the curious piece of pottery described in a previous post was meant to attract the personnel at the bar to refill your cup. We tested this out and our cup made a nice tinkling sound. So nice that we decided to make a (half a) minute movie of it.

A 'tinkling' medieval finger ring

The style of the ring on the hand holding the beaker very well suits the tinkling cup. It is a replica of a medieval ring, of which we also posses the original. We bought this ring through internet, but unfortunately we did not record the accompanying information. The only thing we remembered is that it dates (according to the seller) to the 13th-14th century. The original ring is made of bronze, the replica of silver. The bead of the replica ring is turquoise, the bead of the medieval ring is either a blueish turquoise or coloured glass. Turquoise is a gem that was known during the middle ages. It originated from the orient and travelled trough Turkey to Europe, hence its name Turq-uoise.The rings have a decorative spiral groove on the outside. Spiral grooves are more often found on finger rings of the 14th century, for instance on the golden ring from the Fishpool hoard (Nottingham, United Kingdom) which has a beaded spiral groove.

A gold finger ring from the Fishpool hoard dated 1400-1464. The ring has a beaded spiral groove on the outside. On the inside is an inscription in English 'Uphaf ye entier' with a heart between the last two words. (lift-up your whole heart). 23 by 6.1 mm. Image and object from  British Museum, London, United Kingdom. Hinton (1982) in the book Medieval Jewellery suggests that the ring has a religious context, however the text and the heart seem more reminiscent of  medieval love rings that show similar texts.

Our replica ring was constructed by taking a 0.8 mm thick strip of silver of 60.6 x 4.2 mm. While still flat, the strip was decorated with parallel diagonal grooves: first with a triangular small sweet file, later with a 0.8 mm joint file. After this the ring was roughly rounded on a triblet and the ends were soldered together. Next, the ring was rounded on the same triblet till it was completely round-shaped and had an inner diameter of 18.5 mm - the right size for my ring finger. A small ringlet made of 1 mm round silver wire with an inner diameter of 3 mm (and thus an outer diameter of 5 mm) was first soldered close, an then slightly flattened on one side with a file to create a larger contact zone. Next, it was soldered perpendicular onto the ring with the flattened side. The turquoise bead has a diameter of 5.3 mm with a drilled hole of only 0.9 mm. Like the original medieval ring, the wire for the eyelet to fasten the bead is slightly thinner than the ringlet connected to the ring. In this case, I used a piece of 0.9 mm silver wire to fix the bead neatly to the rest of the ring. Both wire ends are stuck inside the bead, so no soldering - with chances of cracking the bead - was necessary.

The silver replica and the bronze original side by side. 
The original measures 16.3 mm diameter inside, the bead is 5.3 mm.

The tinkling ring. Actually, the ring does not tinkle that loud and nice as the beaker.

The spiral groove can be seen nicely in both rings standing on their side..


  1. LOL, I'm glad you guys were intrigued enough to try it out, especially that you got a positive result from the bar staff!

  2. Hi guys!
    I'm Victor from the blog Medievalisticals - I just noted that you have added us in your links, so I did the same.
    And you have a great blog!

    All the best,