Thursday, May 19, 2016

5/19/16 Report - 1715 Fleet Silver Ring Shown in Deagan Book. Found Claddagh Ring. Danger of Cracked Rings.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Not long ago I talked a lot about silver rings not being found on 1715 Fleet wrecks.  I did a little research and what I saw supported the idea that there were few, if any, silver rings on the 1715 Fleet.
There were, however, silver rings found at Spanish colonial land sites.  That was documented by Kathleen Deagan, a Distinguished Research Curator of Archaeology and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History and one of the top researchers on the Spanish colonial period in Florida.  

In her book on Spanish Colonial artifacts, Deagan shows a silver ring that is reported to be from the 1715 Fleet.  Immediately below is part of a figure in her book showing the designs of some 1715 Fleet rings.  Notice F.  That one, and only that one, is described as being silver.  

Part of the crown over the heart is missing.

That ring is called a Claddagh ring.  It is very common type of ring, even today.

Here is one legend of the source of what we now call Claddagh rings.

Though there are several legends about the origin of Claddagh rings, the one believed to be most accurate involves a member of the Joyce clan from Galway who sailed to the West Indies, and who was captured and sold into slavery, working for a Moorish goldsmith in Algiers. During his 14 years imprisonment, he learned the goldsmith’s art and created the Claddagh ring design as a tribute to his love back in Ireland. When William III became king in 1650, he demanded that the Moors release all British prisoners. The prisoner Joyce brought back the jewelry design with him, and became a successful goldsmith in Ireland.

And from another source, here is more about Claddagh rings.  (Sorry I forgot the original source of both of these excerpts.)

Claddagh rings became widely known in America after Irish immigrants brought them over, mainly in the 18th century. They remain popular, both as wedding rings and decorative adornments. Many of the rings are now passed down through Irish-American families and heirlooms.

Here is a Claddagh ring that I once found on a Treasure Coast wreck beach.

Claddagh Ring Found On A Treasure Coast Wreck Beach.
I always thought this was silver, but I never tested it because I like the black patina, which is a little sparkly even though that doesn't show in the photo.  I didn't want to remove any of the patina.  I like it the way it is.

Here is a closer look at the illustration of design of the Claddagh ring that Deagan attributes to the 1715 Fleet.  She doesn't give any more detail on the source of the ring.

There are many similarities between the found ring shown above and the ring illustrated in Deagan's book. That isn't surprising.  Claddagh rings are Claddagh rings, and they haven't changed much over the centuries.

There are some differences too.  The hand positions and how the hand holds the heart is very similar on both rings.  The hands on both rings have slightly different cuffs.  The heart and crown is a little different on both rings.

While silver rings are very rare for the 1715 Fleet, there is a documented exception in the Deagan book.

The dug example shown today has no marks on the inside of the band or elsewhere.  A sterling mark or a makers mark can tell you a lot about the age of a ring.

This ring has a great black patina, but one of the most impressive things to me is the carved look. You can see it throughout in person.  In the photo you can perhaps see it best in the crown.

I might break down and clean it and test it to see if I can learn anything more about it.


Here is another item with a familiar ring to it.

On 5/10 I showed an encrusted ring (shown below) that I cleaned.  Here it is.

Old Dug Encrusted Treasure Coast Ring

After it was cleaned I could see some serious cracks in the metal.  I put it on just the other day for cleaning and it fell off.  It broke on three cracks and fell off.  If I was doing something when it happened I would not have even noticed it being gone.

The reason I bring this up is to alert you to how easily that can happen.  Any cracked ring can break and fall off at any time, so it might not be a good idea to put new finds on your finger until you have checked for cracks.  I have heavy gold rings with cracks too.  The same thing could happen.


The first day of the current Sedwick auction concluded yesterday.  The remaining lots will be sold today.  You can view the auction results online as it happens.  They move from lot to lot very quickly.


Nothing has changed on the beach.  Still a one-foot surf.  Probably more afternoon thunder storms.

Happy hunting,