Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5/25/16 Report - Twisted Wire Rings. Surprising Spanish Colonial Rings.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Strange Little Ring.Find.

Here is an ugly little ring. Not valuable.  Maybe not even very interesting.

I didn't test this to find out if it might be silver.  Could be, but who cares?

This is a twisted wire ring with a three beads.  Doesn't look old, or does it?  Doesn't look like it could possibly come from an old shipwreck.

You might be surprised to learn that twisted wire rings have been found by archaeologists at Florida Spanish colonial sites.  The two shown below are documented in Kathleen Deagan's book on Spanish colonial artifacts.

Two Twisted Wire Rings Shown in Deagan's Book On Spanish Colonial Artifacts.

Those two aren't very pretty either - at least not to me.  Yet they are Spanish colonial artifacts.  

I'm not saying the one at the top of the post is old.  I don't know how old it is.  It doesn't show much wear or corrosion.  I don't have any idea if it is old or not - probably not.

The point is that we are accustomed to seeing fancy gold and silver treasures, but not everything in the colonial days was made of gold or silver.  In fact most things were not.  

Unlike the royal treasures being sent back to Spain, were a lot of inexpensive items. There were a lot of trade goods.  There were a lot of items for use in routine daily life.  Trade goods were often poorly made.  

I don't know which category the wire rings fit into.  I suspect that they were simply made by someone of the lower classes for personal use.  They were found at an 18th century archaeology site in St. Augustine.

Below are some more rings from Deagans book.

Four Rings Found at Spanish Colonial Archaeological Sties.
The four rings immediately above are from San Luis de Talimale, a late 17th century site.

The one at the top left is made of glass.  The one at top right is made of jet.  The two below are copper alloy.

There were tons of beads, glass, jet and other less expensive items shipped to the New World.

Not every old item that comes from a shipwreck beach will look like treasure. It might or might not be pretty.  It might or might not be valuable.  And it certainly might not be easy to date or identify.

I once found a gold enameled ring on a shipwreck beach and didn't think it was old simply because I didn't know they did enameling that long ago.  They do.  That is just one example.

Don't be too hasty to disregard things just because they don't look like you think they should, and it is always my advice to keep things until you can definitely determine that they are of no interest to you. I've held things for decades before finally learning to identify or appreciate them.


The surf is still small on the Treasure Coast but will increase slightly to a peak of about three or four feet on Friday.

Happy hunting,