400-Year-Old Rings Transform Into Spheres Used For Astronomy

These armillary sphere rings allow you to wear the entire universe on your finger. Harem rings, also known as ‘puzzle rings’, became a trend in the jewelry industry in 2012. These modern rings consist of multiple interconnected bands that can be separated and formed together as one. It is still unclear where the puzzle ring originated. Some theories claim that it originated in Greece while others argue that the ancient Chinese created it. Both theories may hold true. Because sometime around 190 BC, both countries are developing armillary spheres that represent objects in the sky.

Armillary spheres consist of spherical framework of rings that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude. These spherical rings revolve on an axis around a celestial body that serves as a model for either the Sun or Earth. In 17th century, the armillary sphere became a basic tool for astronomers to map constellations and study celestial bodies. To make its application more convenient, these tools were sized down into rings in which astronomers can wear.

armillary sphere rings

British Museum

 

ancient armillary sphere rings

British Museum

Some of the surviving armillary sphere rings from 400 years ago are exhibited at the British Museum. The collection includes well-preserved and elaborate rings with number of bands ranging from two to eight. All pieces are made of soft high alloy gold, making them retain their luster and permanence for centuries. Some of the pieces of the collection feature plain bands while others have inscriptions and symbols on them.

British Museum exhibits a collection of ancient armillary sphere rings

plain armillary sphere rings

British Museum

 

ancient armillary sphere rings british museum

British Museum

 

armillary sphere rings british museum

British Museum

 

ancient armillary sphere rings with inscriptions

British Museum

These ancient armillary sphere rings are so well-crafted that you’d wish to bring them home with you. Of course, these historic discoveries are not for sale. But the good news is, a jewelry company offers contemporary armillary sphere rings for sale. Black Adept, a Brooklyn-based jewelry shop is offering 3-band and 4-band armillary sphere rings. Both variants are available in yellow gold, white gold, and platinum materials.

Source: British Museum

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