Thumb ring

Thumb ring

White nephrite jade set with rubies and emeralds in gold mounts
Possibly India or Pakistan
About 1650
Museum no. 02522(IS)

Thumb rings of this type were originally used in archery as a way of releasing the bowstring accurately without injuring the hand. Thumb rings made with precious materials became objects of royal status in the Mughal courts of India. This ring has rubies and emeralds set in a flower pattern with their surfaces carved to resemble petals and leaves. The ring shows the skill of the jeweller, who used the 'kundan' method of setting precious stones into jade and other materials with tiny strips of highly refined gold.