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Jami Rodriguez jewelry demonstrates bad numismatics (click to see larger)
It seems as though jewelry designers like using ancient coinage as inspiration for their pieces, but aren’t as concerned about the accuracy of the description on the websites that sell them. In Bad Jewelry Latin (well, History), I discussed a ring that was described as depicting Caesar, but was clearly actually a coin depicting Alexander the Great. In this instance, the sample sale website Billion Dollar Babes calls this item “Goddess Bangles” and describes them as “14k Gold Filled Bangles with Gold Goddess Coin.”
Unfortunately, though the coin is purported to depict a “goddess,” it is immediately recognizable to those who study numismatics as the obverse of the coinage of Rhodes, which was unique among the major producers of coinage for using a 3/4 face instead of the more common full profile for much of their coinage. This face is of course no “goddess,” but the god Helios, a god so important to Rhodes that they commissioned a monumental statue of him, the Colossus of Rhodes, to overlook the city. Here is a nice image of the coin that is being recreated on the bracelet. Note the reverse image, the distinctive Rhodian rose.
Those familiar with ancient iconography can probably tell that the image depicts a youthful god, even without knowing the Rhodian coin. The CAMPVS’s own Dennis, who doesn’t have the same training in numismatics as I, guessed that the coin might depict Apollo, but hadn’t even considered a goddess. If only the people that write these descriptions of coins had some sort of classical training, or consulted someone who does, when their pieces draw on ancient iconographical traditions, then perhaps this sort of error wouldn’t keep occuring.