Gold jewellery produced during the Fatimid Dynasty (909–1171) is among the most opulent of the medieval world. This ring is no exception. Intricately decorated with patterns of gold wire whose voids are filled with fine gold particles, it shows a mastery of two techniques commonly used in Fatimid jewellery: filigree and granulation. Its reliance upon these ornamental techniques rather than upon gem settings is also typical of Fatimid rings. However, its high raised bezel form is better known in rings from the Seljuq period (ca. 1040–1307).
The Fatimids, who derived their name from Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, centralized their power in the capital city of Cairo. Their territory stretched across North Africa, and at its maximum extent included areas as far east as the Levant and Hijaz. The Fatimids maintained important trade relations within Africa as well as with empires around the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. An especially important relationship was formed with the nearby Byzantine Empire (ca. 330–1453), and some Fatimid jewellery has very distinct links to Byzantine objects (see AKM594).
The trove of medieval documents known as the Cairo Geniza provides a great deal of important information about jewellery production during the Fatimid period. These manuscript fragments found in the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat or Old Cairo, Egypt, indicate prices, terminology, and production details about the goldsmithing and jewellery industry, much of which was staffed by Jewish craftsmen. Filigree, for example, is referred to as mushhabbak (latticework) in 12th-century trousseau lists from the Cairo Geniza documents. While filigree remained an important element of Fatimid jewellery, the use of granulation eventually fell to the wayside, something that scholar Marc Rosenberg referred to as “the battle of granulation and filigree” in which the latter eventually prevailed. This analysis suggests that this ring is among the earliest of Fatimid jewel types.
The Fatimids obtained gold from a number of sources, including nearby mines in Nubia (modern-day Sudan) as well as the Kingdom of Ghana. Fatimid artisans also melted down and repurposed metal from older jewellery, a probable fate for many Fatimid pieces which no longer exist today. The infamous looting of the treasury of Fatimid caliph al-Mustansir (1036–94) around 1070 resulted in an irreplaceable loss of many riches from this period.
— Courtney Stewart
 Marilyn Jenkins-Madina in The Glory of Byzantium (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997), 419–20, quoting Goitein, A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World As Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, vol. 4, 211 –12.
 Marilyn Jenkins, “Fatimid Jewelry, Its Subtypes and Influences,” Ars Orientalis, vol. 18 (1988), 40, quoting Marc Rosenberg, “Abteilung: Granulation,” Geschichte der Goldschmiedekunst auf Technischer Grundlage, vol. 3. (Frankfurt, 1918), 96–103.
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