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Poison Jewelry


History of Poison Jewelry⠀
I am sure we have all heard of Poison Rings/Jewelry, but how familiar are you, really, with these pieces? ⠀

Most of us consider jewelry a fashion statement, a way to keep memories of loved ones near, or just a generalized way of portraying our personality. But, did you know that jewelry has long been incorporated as a line of defense against enemies & even “dark magic”? ⠀

Throughout history, religion, magic, & medicine have been intermixed in the human psyche, with the most nonsensical solution often winning out. One example of this was a historical belief that the magical properties of a certain charm or stone could prevent her baby from being swopped out for a changeling. ⠀

While jewelry was certainly used as a defensive tool, others utilized it as a weapon. This is where the poison ring comes in. ⠀

Some of the initial accounts of poison rings have connection to ancient India and Asia. They appear notably in the Middle Ages, the same period in which a stealthy foe could simply sprinkle deadly powder into your goblet simply by tipping their hand. This was accomplished through the style of a poison ring. Typically, these rings have a gem set in the band, with a secret compartment beneath, connected via a small hinge. The larger the setting, the more poison a ring could hold, allowing the scattering of poison to go undetected. ⠀

These rings were also used to hold pomanders, which were small amounts of pleasant fragrance (think solid perfume), used to mask the aromas of gutters & streets. Other adornments were bits of bone, relics, fragments of flesh, & locks of hair, making them a sort of antecedent to 19th century Victorian mourning jewelry. ⠀

Today, poison jewelry is used to carry medication, solid perfume, powders, a piece of cloth soaked in one’s favorite essential oil, a lock of hair, or ointments/salves. Poison rings are also known as box rings, locket rings, socket rings, pillbox rings, vessel rings, & compartment rings. You can also find many styles of pendants with compartments similar to these original pieces. ⠀


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