Agate Frog Ring

Like this agate frog ring. Finger rings in the shape of frogs were produced throughout the Pharaonic period and in very different materials.

Perhaps the lid of a cosmetic vessel, on an oval plinth, naturalistically rendered, the eyes and mouth delineated by incision, pierced horizontally through the chest and stomach; mounted as a ring in a modern gold setting.

Ancient Egyptian Agate Frog Ring
Agate Frog Ring

At the beginning of the Pharaonic era, rings are very rare and are simple hoops made of gold or copper. The spread of jewelry increases rapidly during the Middle Kingdom and they also begin to be used as seals.

In the New Kingdom, when production intensified, rings of different shapes appeared, such as stirrup rings with an engraved or chiselled inscription or decorative motif, or special decorations such as the specimen in the picture, embellished with a frog.

The frog raises its head, while its legs, tense and nervous, are ready to jump. The animal’s popularity was due to its being a symbol of creation and fertility.

The association between this amphibian and the life that continually renews may have been induced by the fact that frogs were numerous and usually appeared after the flooding of the Nile: multitudes of frogs filled the fields and seemed to generate themselves directly from the slime, multiplying without end. The amphibian was also the sacred animal of the goddess Heqet, protector of births.

Late Period to Ptolemaic Period, ca. 664-30 BC. Now in the Private Collection.