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Hello. We are seeking help in determining what this little figurine is. We found this in the drawer of a deceased antique dealer. She appears to be gold, but is much too heavy to be gold. She stands 4 inches tall. There is a large amethyst on the base. There is a ruby or garnet on her head and another on her dress. There are also rows of turquoise stones on her gown. She was in a wooden box that is covered with a thin coat of leather. The inside is carved to her shape and then covered in velvet. Thank you for any help you can provide. Brenda

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Replies to This Discussion

A very special Renaissance chess piece?

Thanks Molly. My husband wondered that too....  We have shown this to several local antique dealers but no one knows what it is. 

Not sure what you mean by "too heavy to be gold", gold is one of the heavier elements around, heavier than lead, almost 2.45 times the weight of iron.

Can we see the box closed?

Also, are there any potential maker marks on either the statue or the box?

Thanks Michael. Someone told us it seemed too heavy to be gold. I really have no idea. But I didn't know that gold is heavier than lead. Thanks for that information! There are no marks anywhere. We thought we saw some on the statue but upon enlarging it, it is just part of the design. 

I'm of absolutely no help here, but she is FABULOUS! None of the dealers had a test kit to check for gold? You might try taking her to a jeweler. I'm sure they'd be happy to test her for you and could provide more info about the stones. They love unusual goodies as much as we do!

Yes, she really is.  We haven't taken her to a jewelers yet, and the dealers may not be as knowledgeable as we anticipated. We just went to some owners of antique shoppes who advertise as being dealers. I'll need to do some research to see who to go to in Dayton, Ohio!

A jeweller may not be knowledgeable in the antiques of the world, in fact, I'd find it unlikely they could help in that department, however, they can test for the purity of the gold and could even advise the authenticity of the stones present on your item.

In the photo above, I realise this could simply be a trick of the camera, but the left round stone appears chipped and beneath the surface appears white. That would also be a good stone to point out to the jeweller as it can aide identification to a stone not uniform in colour, vs a coloured bead.

Below is a quick little chart so you can see the comparative weights of some various common types of metal.

Densities of materials

metal g/cm3 lb/in3 lb/ft3   lb/gal 
water 1.00  0.036  62 8.35 
aluminum 2.70 0.098 169 22.53
zinc 7.13 0.258 445 59.50
iron 7.87 0.284 491 65.68
copper 8.96 0.324 559 74.78
silver 10.49 0.379 655 87.54
lead 11.36 0.410 709 94.80
mercury 13.55 0.490 846 113.08
gold 19.32 0.698 1206 161.23

Thank you so much for all this wonderful info! As you can tell, I have no experience in this! 

I think it is definitely a fob. Is there anything etched onto the amethyst that might have been pressed into a wax seal? Also, are her sleeves hollow or am I seeing shadows? I wonder if she could have been attached to a chain somehow.

It certainly could be a stamp, such large amethysts were used to create these seal stamps.  While it is very hard to tell from the photo you provided, it does appear there could be something engraved there. Perhaps not as deeply as my below example image, like I say, hard to tell. If there isn't, then perhaps its purpose was to become a stamp and had not yet been engraved...? That would be hard to prove without find out who made it though.


We wondered about it being a seal too but there is no inscription in it. No, the sleeves are not hollow. Thank you. 

Hello Miss Brenda,

   Yours is one of the most interesting pieces that has been on this forum in the short time I have been a member. I can offer no help as to its origin at this time. But, case itself appears to have considerable age and interior wear to the velvet also lends itself to that.

 Four inches tall is too big and heavy for a fob--(Sorry L.B.) A fob usually hangs on the outside of a jacket. This piece should weigh several ounces, as it appears to be solid cast and not hollow. And one would think a wax seal- except no design carved into the bottom stone. Intaglio is the word I`m looking for.

I think one of your most important (things to do tomorrow) is to have it tested.

It takes only minutes to do, and even if there is a charge--it will be minor.

The design of this piece is interesting and well modeled, but the hand tooling is most primitive.  The style of dress is English, late 16th- early 17th century, (I could be wrong.) The stones garnet and amethyst ( are not rare) but the turquoise (if that`s what it is) would have been before say 1850s American explorations of the West. 

She is a real treasure- Gold or Not, and most likely-"One of a Kind". Congratulations on your find...

God Bless,---Charlie


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