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 Ref HH9  Amuletic Toadstone Ring

Exceptionally rare toadstone ring, circa 1700. Toadstone is an amuletic 'stone' which was highly prized for its magical powers. Toadstones [which were believed to come from the heads of living toads], are actually the hemispherical crushing teeth of Lepidotus maximus, an extinct genus of ray-finned fish from the Jurassic period. Toadstones were considered to be an antidote for poison and were also used in the treatment of epilepsy. Mothers wore toadstones to protect their children from being swapped for changelings.
In folklore, a toadstone had to be removed from a toad while the creature was still alive to retain its magical power. Topsell [1608] gave instructions on how to remove the stone from a live toad, by placing it on a red cloth and waiting for it to belch out the toadstone.
Lupton [1627] suggested an equally imaginative way to extract the jewel: ' Put a great or overgrowne Tode... into an earthen pot, and put the same in an Ants hillocke, and cover the same with Earth, which Toade at length the Ants will eate. So that the bones of the Toade and stone will be left in the Pot...'
This toadstone is set to a high carat gold ring in a rubover setting. The ring is size L [US 5 and 1/2] and the toadstone measures 1/2 an inch by 1/2 an inch. There are similar examples in the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Cheapside Horde at the Museum of London.

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A 1497 illustration depicting the extraction and employment of a toadstone.



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