When I bought my poison ring (I think I mentioned earlier that I do own one), I was browsing around at an antique show. While I stood admiring an ornately chased Victorian ring, the dealer came over smiling. "What makes that one so good," she said, "is that it's a poison ring."
Good is, perhaps, not the best word to describe such an elegantly dangerous device. And yet, I was immediately fascinated. I'd always imagined poison rings as rather obvious, an enormous golden blob like thing on the fingers of Lucretia Borgia (although, apparently, her brothers were far more murderous).This was dainty in its design, completely deceptive. A beautiful piece of Victorian jewelry, made in the late 19th century.
Of course, I bought it and wore it home.Â Showed it off. My older son studied and it and said, "How did people get a hold of these? Did they have them specially made?" And I started wondering myself: the woman who first wore my pretty poison ring, how exactly did she acquire it? Did she go to her corner jeweller and ask to see those special rings, the ones hidden under the counter? Did she put on a dark cloak and sneak out to meet a nefarious ring maker in a shady alley?
Of course, poison rings weren't only used for poison. They could hold medication or perfumes. So maybe they were always there - poison rings, after all, date back 100s of years, and the jewelers never asked. Today, we can pick them up on Ebay (nearly 400 poison rings listed there this morning) or at novelty shops.
And I'm sure no one asks those buyers what they plan to do with the rings. Or maybe they crack a little Borgia joke, not really meaning it.Â But don't you wonder? Just a little?
Wow very true. I just bought one myself. I of course, am not going to put poison in it. I am curious, though, what (if any) liquid did you put in it?
No poison for me either. And no liquid - I think it would drip. Old time poisoners used to put powders or pills in theirs. I've thought of putting a small tablet in it - say, a saccharine tablet - for demonstration purposes. But so far it's stayed safely empty.