Goldfields ring first of its kind
Much has been written about the Victorian goldfields and its impact on the course of Australian history, but little is publicly known about the gold jewellery that was created by local artisans who were arguably the forerunners of a burgeoning new Australian industry
A gents 22 carat pure gold ring that is considered to be one of the earliest pieces of datable jewellery from the Ballarat area is being offered for sale by Leski Auctions.
The ring is believed to have been made by Gerrard Sleep who was in business from approx. 1856 to 1859, although it may also relate to Lt. Col. J.T. Sleep of the Ballarat Rangers.
It features a primitive, unofficial coat of arms although there is no information to suggest whether it relates to anyone in particular or was simply a flight of fancy by the jeweller. There is an internal inscription ‘A McL to D McK 1859’ with no additional supporting information.
“The goldrush brought thousands of people to Australia in the 1800s looking to make their fortune, although most left empty handed,” says Charles Leski. “Here is an example of enterprise from the goldfields which demonstrates that money could be made from gold in other ways as well.”
Article by Michael Krape
Australiana - from Convicts to Gold RushWednesday 27 June 2012
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