The Carnelian Kitten… and a Happy Birthday to me!


I have long been a fan of vintage jewelry. In fact I started collecting pieces when I was in high school. From lovely enameled and glass necklace, earring, bracelet, ring sets to a very fanciful winged dragon necklace, my taste was pretty eclectic.

I also love art, ancient craftsmanship and museums. One day, probably on Pinterest, I saw the most charming ring. A tiny carnelian kitten, perched upright atop a gold circle ring. A possible homage to the goddess Bastet and currently residing (though not on display, I think) at the British Museum, this ring is from the Third Intermediate Period and a possible 3000-ish years old. It was donated in 1947 by Maj Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, a British army surgeon, administrator and collector, given the title of Pasha by King Farouk in 1942 after giving his home Beit el-Kiridliya to the people of Egypt.

The carved base has a wedjat of the Eye of Horus and the kitten swivels on the axis.

Eye of Horus

I always joked that if I was to steal something from a museum it might be this especially since I’d not seen even a reproduction made, surprisingly. However my dear husband had been listening and undertook to recreate the treasure just for me!

Over many months, he reached out to an extremely helpful museum curator who took out the piece and provided him with tons of measurements and pictures which were then used by our talented friend, award-winning jeweler Wendy Brandes. She helped source a carnelian and gem carver in Germany and then worked with her goldsmith to create a new 18kt cold version of the ring.

The carved kitten
Ring in progress

It is stunning in person and I was overwhelmed to say the least. That 6 people, including my mother-in-law helping to facilitate and keep the secret, in 4 countries conspired to make a gift for me is stunning. He even sourced and themed box from Ukraine to place the ring in.

Teeny ears!
The ring box

Once it was gifted to me, we thought it would be fun to take it to the Egyptian wing at the Met to take a few shots like the one above and in front of some similar swivel rings.

It truly is a gift for the ages and one I will cherish always. Follow the #TheCarnelianKitten on IG to follow it’s adventures.

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