Advance Ballaarat ring by John Nemecek, Ballaarat, Victoria, circa 1857. Unlike most Victorian goldfields jewellery which was often made in Melbourne, this ring was crafted on the goldfields in Ballaarat. It bears the inscription Advance Ballarat, together with one of the often used Colonial Coat of Arms.

Unlike many colonial jewellers, Nemecek's work and life are fairly well-documented. He was listed in 1857-8 as a jeweller and watchmaker at Main Road, Ballarat East, 'five doors below the United States Hotel' where he thanks the 'Ladies and Gentlemen of Ballarat and its vicinity, for the kind patronage they have bestowed on me during the last three years...' His name is recorded with several different spellings, he is recorded in the 1857 Huxtable's Directory as Nennecke and in the 1862 Birtchnell's Directory as 'watchmaker..between United States Hotel and Red hill Hotel' as Necceck.

John Nemecek died in September 1863. His funeral was held in the Golden Fleece Hotel, Humffray Street, Ballaarat on 22nd September at 4pm, after which his internment took place at the Ballaarat Cemetery.

Physical Description

Large gold ring with central shield design featuring the words "Advance Ballaarat" and two miners leaning on a coat of arms.


This miner's ring is significant for being one of the few known examples to have been crafted on the goldfields in Ballaarat, other Ballarat or Bendigo miners' rings known have been made by Lamborn or Gerrard and Sleep. The ring is also unique in that it bears the inscription 'Advance Ballarat' together with one of the often used Colonial Coat of Arms. In this case, the arms are exactly the same as the masthead for the locally produced and very short lived "The Times and Southern Cross" which only existed for a two year period from 1855 to 1856. Given this, Nemecek may have been operating as a jeweller earlier than recorded and this ring may be one of the earliest pieces of jewellery created in Ballaarat.

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