Alternative investor: antique rings

I have just been sent Cycles of Life: Rings from Benjamin Zucker Family collection. It is part book, part catalogue and produced by Les Enluminures, one of the world’s foremost dealers in medieval manuscripts and jewellery. I have written before about my personal passion for ancient and especially medieval jewellery and I won’t bore you by going over old ground. My enthusiasm is based on the fact that:

  • Prices have been steadily rising.
  • It is still possible to pick up really fantastic examples of jewellery that are over 2000 years old for relatively small sums (as little as a few hundred pounds).
  • I have never had to wait long to dispose of an item (never longer than around 60 days) making individual items relatively liquid when compared to some alternative assets.
  • Even quite a large collection takes up very little space and can be easily stored and transported.
  • The individual items of jewellery are generally wearable and always attract great interest and gasps of admiration.

Benjamin Zucker’s collection has been organised into five different stages: birth, marriage, everyday life, death and eternity. The oldest example is a “Greek Snake Ring with Garnet Heart, Hellenistic Greece, 2nd-1st century BC” and there are many pieces from antiquity. My favourite pieces, however, are from the medieval period – the black letter posy rings and the heraldic signet rings.

Museum-quality jewellery has traditionally been the preserve of a small group of serious collectors. It tends to be bought and sold by dealers who cover a wide range of other antiquities; sometimes pieces come up for auction at the larger, international salesrooms; most often, it changes hands privately. If you look on Amazon, you’ll see there are quite a few books covering this subject. You could also try some of the following sources:, which at any one time has more than 100 examples for sale, Etsy ( and eBay ( Sotheby’s and Christies are the two sale houses most likely to have suitable rings up for auction. Specialist dealers include TimeLine Originals (, Peter Szuhay (, Sanda Lipton ( and Spiral Artefacts (