Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

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1,500 Year-Old Ring

From The American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, January, 1946

1,500 Year-Old Ring

Alergic, the fierce Visigoth who sacked Rome in 410, ruled with an iron hand, but he conveyed all his power through a personal seal ring he wore on his little finger.

The ring, a blue sapphire, 45 carat and as large as half of a man's thumb, is inscribed with Aleric's image and his title.

Aleric could not write. When it came to signing state papers, he made his royal impression with the ring. Sometimes this ring settled matters of life and death. Its seal was an undisputed authority.

This symbol of power is valued at $2,000, and is one of many antique jewels from all over the world in the famous Sabine collection. Marshall Field & Co., Chicago recently had it on display.

Sabine (a woman) toured 35 countries to get gems for her collection. She inherited the collector's instinct and some of the rare jewels from her father. Included in her collection is a Russian enamel watch, with rock crystal front and back, about 250 years old; an 18th century diamond spray, which shivers because it is set on springs; poison rings of the Borgias; Persian slave bracelets; and early American heirloom pieces. All pieces are wearable and individually are valued at from $35 to $5,400.

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