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Originating in ancient India and the Far East, the poison ring became very popular in Europe during the 16th century. The traditional poison ring had a very small container hidden under a hinged cover. The container could be used to hold a poison.... Often the poison ring was used on oneself to avoid capture during wartime or to slip into the enemy’s food or drink. For example, in Ancient Rome, Romans sometimes used poison rings to commit suicide when a painful death was unavoidable. The historian Pliny, the Elder (23-79 CE) recounts how a Roman government official escaped torture by taking a bite out of his poison ring.
During the Middle Ages, locket rings were often used to hide relics of saints, bits of their hair, bone and teeth, which were thought to protect the wearer from various calamities and illness.
By the 17th century, jewelers were creating “funeral rings” in the shape of caskets. They were special mementos for the mourners.
Some other types of locket shaped rings were rings with compartments, which were called “box” rings or “socket” rings.
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