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A Graeco-Egyptian gem set in a 19th century gold ring, £5000 from Kallos Gallery.

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Originating mainly from Hellenised Alexandria, so-called ‘magical’ or ‘gnostic’ gems were worn to give protection and power the soul to the spiritual world.

This Graeco-Egyptian example, set in a 19th century gold ring, is designed to invoke the lion-headed Chnoubis, an Egyptian solar deity with a serpentine body thought to symbolise the Nile and its flooding and protect the wearer from poison and disease.

Inscribed to the ring’s reverse is a bar crossed with three S-shaped serpents, an astronomical sign in ancient Egypt for the first of the 36-star constellations or decans that coincided with the time of the Inundation (the annual flood of the Nile).

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A Graeco-Egyptian gem set in a 19th century gold ring, £5000 from Kallos Gallery.

Passed by descent from a UK private collection, it can be purchased for £5000 from Kallos Gallery’s recently launched online shop.

kallosgallery.com