Goldweight Rings        


       Gold weights originated in the African Gold Coast (today's Ghana and ivory Coast). They were
meant to weigh the gold dust that was used as local currency.  By means of symbols inscribed on their
surface, they also conveyed messages drawn from the local wisdom and lore.  After the English
prohibited the use of gold dust as currency in the 19th century, the weights survived for
their symbolic and ornamental value. 
My incorporation of these weights in rings and other jewelry contines a native trend from times of old.

Each goldweight ring is numbered and has a description of the symbols on the goldweight.

                   The following goldweight rings are for sale. The price of each ring is $75, shipping and insurance is an additional $10.  
please click on the thumbnail to enlarge the piece
 gwt #11. Hercules knot- it appears with the proverb: "the knot tied by a wise man cannot be untied by a fool."

gwt #6.  The short dashes at the ends probably portray rays of the moon. The two-vaulted spiral stands for an important symbol named sankofa, which advises one to build on the past. Or, turn back and fetch it!

gwt #12.  The two arcs touching each other with a short line in the middle of each represent creative power of the two crescent moons.

gwt # 17.  In order to represent fractions of a weight, at times the ashanti actually sectioned a design.  This one appears to be 1/2 of the symbol.



gwt #8.  The two arches represent the two crescent moons. The meaning of the line separating them is less clear.  "It takes the moon some time to go around the nation" - says an ashanti proverb prizing patience.

 gwt #21.  This design, which appears with variations (sometimes looking like a candelabra), represents the measuring rod - a yearning for perfection.

gwt #24.  This design, with it's criss-crossing of wires, probably evokes Nkyimu - the symbol representing the crossing pattern made on the adinkra cloth before the stamping is done.  It represents adroitness and precision.
gwt #37.  Sankofa ring. (see description below for #38.)

 Sold Sold  

gwt 032                                                              gwt 034                                                  gwt 033                                                     gwt 39
The baoule people                                                This design appears                                 size 6                                                        sankofa (see below)
of the ivory Coast                                                as a variant of 2 symbols,                                                                                         size 8
 wore small bronze masks                                     both of them portraying
 as charms. They represented                             
hair styles of a hero,
 enemies killed in battle.                                             symbolizing bravery and
 size 8                                                                  valor. 
                                                                            size 6.5                                                                                                                                          

                                           gwt #18                                                gwt #4                                            gwt #22                                                gwt #20.
                                        Most likely the symbol on                     This gold weight contains                 This design, which appears here in         size 8
                                        this gold weight stands for                   what is regarded as the symbol        its candelabra-like shape,
                                        the rays of the moon.                            of creation--the so called                represents the measuring rod--
                                        size 6.25                                               "Conceiving Moon"                            a symbol of belief in the best, and
                                                                                                      size 8                                              yearning for perfection.  The  
                                                           five dashes at the bottom may be
                                                                 associated with the moon's rays. 
            size 8
     gwt #38.  The figurative design displayed in this ring is the sankofa, one of the very important symbols of the akan peoples (nowadays inhabiting
      Ghana and Ivory Coast). It shows a bird turned facing its back, preening its feathers. It corresponds to a number of proverbs, all extolling
      the value of the past, either to learn from it, or to build on it, or simply to correct past mistakes.  The sankofa is also at times represented as
      an abstract design, often under the shape of a two-vaulted spiral with the two curves facing each other.  The use of a two finger ring is not
      linked to any akan tradition. Instead, it serves two purposes, one practical and the other aesthetic. It prevents the weight of the ring from
      turning and falling around your finger and it reflects a popular ring style in ancient Egypt. Finally, according to some recent opinion, the system
      of symbols encoded in the akan gold weights could  be the remnants of a true language in ideograms, not unlike the one of ancient Egypt.

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