Vintage Taxco sterling silver amethyst poison ring Mexican Art Nouveau jewelry February birthstone

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This fabulous poison ring is almost iconic in that it was produced and reproduced by many different Taxco, Mexico silversmiths in the first half of the 20th Century. The leaves on the side are reminiscent of Art Nouveau design, and the top opens, revealing a not-too-small storage space inside. Poison rings, also known as pillbox rings, were used centuries ago to hold poison that the wearer could slip poison into the drink or food of an enemy. In the 17th Century, the rings were used to hold perfume, or could hold relics, even lockets of hair or bits of fabric. They could even contain tiny letters or messages. This ring is an especially beautiful example of the oft-copied design as the center amethyst stone is quite purple even if a tiny bit cloudy. The ring is adjustable although only up to a point, as silver should not be pressed so hard as to compromise the metal. The ring is stamped with an eagle mark and the number 1 (two small dashes underneath). That eagle mark dates it to no older than 1946, although the most common eagle mark has a 3 in it. The 1 is a bit of a mystery, and is possibly thought to be an early eagle mark that was transitional until the primary eagle 3 stamp became standard in 1948. The other stamp is the workshop (or "taller" in Spanish) hallmark, and reads in a circle 925 (for sterling silver) TAXCO HECHO EN MEXICO, and inside the circle is the maker EJD, and I believe the maker's last name is actually the J, although I was not able to find which the workshop attribution. I estimate this ring to be circa 1940s to 1950s.

The ring is a size 9 to 10; being adjustable it moves along the ring mandrel and thus is hard to get a precise reading. Some small scratches on the silver consistent with age.

Fun and fabulous poison ring in a beloved designed.


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