Most eco-conscious women and men know that diamonds and luxury goods are passe. They waste resources, cost money and create heartache for those that don’t have.
Some companies say they mine for metals and diamonds that are conflict free. Brilliant Earth, for instance, says it mines eco-friendly precious metals and diamonds without hurting people, but mines are a known blight on the earth in any shape and form. Mining leaves lingering pollution in waterways, maybe forever.
But we have another idea. Take all the bits of your gold metal and smith into an engagement ring you can wear with pride. This one was recently found in Yavne, Israel, inside an archaeological site that included an ancient wine press. It is at least 1300 years old.
We love the ancient look and feel of this ring which is set with a semi-precious stone called amethyst. Amethysts are mentioned in Bible as one of the 12 precious stones worn by the high priest of the Temple on his ceremonial breastplate.
Many virtues have been attached to this gem, including the prevention of the side effect of drinking, the hangover. You can set yours with a lab-created diamond or hunt for a stone in grandma’s jewellery box.
“Did the person who wore the ring want to avoid intoxication due to drinking a lot of wine? We probably will never know,” says Dr. Elie Haddad, the director of the excavation that found the ring in the Holy Land: “the ring was found just 100 yards from the remains of a long warehouse, which was used to store wine jars. Some of the jars were found upside down on their mouths and it may have been a warehouse full of empty jars before they were taken to the winepresses, to fill with wine.
“It is possible that the splendid ring belonged to the owner of the magnificent warehouse, to a foreman, or simply to an unlucky visitor, who dropped and lost their precious ring, until it was finally discovered by us.”
Researchers are debating the date of the ring. It was found in a fill dated to the end of the Byzantine period and the beginning of the Early Islamic period – the 7th century CE, but it is possible that the ring, due to its beauty and prestige, was transmitted from generation to generation over the centuries.
Gold rings inlaid with amethyst stone are known in the Roman world, and it is possible that the ring’s find belongs to the elites who lived in the city as early as the 3rd century CE.