Gold rings from the Aigina treasure

Minoan, about 1850-1550 BC
From Aigina, Aegean Sea

Inlaid with a rare and precious stone

The Aigina treasure includes five gold rings. Four of them, inlaid with lapis lazuli, are among the most technically skilful elements in the Aigina treasure. Lapis lazuli is a rare and precious stone and came to Crete via a long trade route from Afghanistan.

One ring, shaped like a figure-of-eight shield, is particularly interesting; such large body shields are commonly represented in Minoan and Mycenaean art. They are sometimes shown in use by hunters or warriors or, as here, simply used as a decorative motif. Occasionally the shield is associated with a figure identified as a warrior goddess, and this may have given the image particular potency. A second ring takes the form of a reef knot; a third has fluted lapis lazuli. On the fourth ring, small pieces of lapis are inlaid into a meander pattern.

The fifth ring, in plain gold, is decorated with incised hatching and is rather flimsy.

Find in the collection online

Gold rings from the Aigina treasure

Reef knot ring

  • Figure-of-eight shield ring

    Figure-of-eight shield ring

  • Fluted ring

    Fluted ring


More information


R. Higgins, The Aegina Treasure: an archae (London, 1979)

R. Higgins, 'The Aigina treasure reconsidered', Annual of the British School-1, 52 (1957), pp. 42-57


Diameter: 2.100 cm (figure-of-eight shield ring)
Weight: 152.000 g

Museum number

GR 1892.5-20.3-6, 11 (Rings 690-3, 888)



Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore