There is probably no item that is so common to almost all cultures and ages of man, yet so frequently overlooked, as rings. Nearly everyone wears (or has worn) rings; yet what person today could tell you anything about their origins, original uses, history, or even the customs behind modern engagement, wedding, and graduation rings? Here is a book that will answer these and many more questions about rings and is certain to expand and enhance your appreciation of them. From the fabled ring of Prometheus — made from a link of his chain and a chunk of the rock to which he was bound — up to today, rings have had numerous functions, associations and meanings. Originally used as signets and seals, they began to be worn as jewelry, used for religious and magical purposes, and given as tokens and mementos for events stretching from birth to death. The notorious poison-bearing rings of the Borgias, the rings worn by the followers of Charles I after his execution, which had the king's portrait secretly hidden beneath a table-cut diamond, and many other famous rings of history are covered in this book along with a host of ring lore; lords and ladies scratching messages to each other on panes of glass with their diamonds, the legend of Solomon's ring, which reappeared in a fish after having been lost for forty years, and Plato's reprimand to Aristotle over his excessive use of rings. The book also covers methods of ring making, from earliest times up to today, the materials and gems used in rings, and rings from many cultures and archaeological excavations around the world. Origins for many customs concerning rings are explained, and numerous examples of verses and inscriptions found on rings are given. Also included are hundreds of photos of rings of all sorts and varieties, and a selection of historical paintings that illustrate rings as they were worn. Tracing the origins and development of so common an ornament is fascinating and enlightening. The ring wearer will begin to feel himself a part of one of the oldest and richest customs of man. The artist and antique collector will appreciate more fully the craftsmanship involved in making rings as well as the colorful and abundant lore associated with them.