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Bonnie Parker's Promise Ring Made By Clyde Barrow

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Ring made for Bonnie by Barrow himself

Bonnie Parker’s silver-toned three-headed snake ring featuring green and red jewels, crafted for her by Clyde Barrow while he was imprisoned in Texas; the ring was recovered from their disabled vehicle by Sheriff Smoot Schmid after the ‘Sowers Raid’ in 1933. Although Bonnie and Clyde had robbed jewelry stores during their spree, this ring can be directly attributed to Clyde’s craftsmanship–inside the band is his personal hallmark, a musical note struck by an arrow. Playing music was one of Clyde’s favorite pastimes, and he was famously toting his alto saxophone with his arsenal when he was killed; the arrow in his maker’s mark may be that of Cupid, symbolizing his love for Bonnie.

Both Clyde and his brother Buck were skilled amateur craftsmen, and while in prison they engaged in jewelry-making, leathercraft, and woodworking. Among some of the other items known to have been made by Clyde while jailed are a beaded necklace given to his sister Marie, a hand-tooled leather belt with metal studs and blue and red stones, and his own polished silver belt buckle with a five-pointed Texas Star in the center surrounded by abalone shell. The leather belt, belt buckle, and this ring all exhibit similar styles of artistic approach and the same level of high-quality, though unrefined, craftsmanship.

The ring was recovered from the outlaw couple’s bullet-riddled ’33 Ford Model B by Sheriff Smoot Schmid after the ‘Sowers Raid’ on November 22, 1933. Informed of a family gathering that was supposed to take place near Sowers, Texas, the Schmid-led posse lay in wait for Bonnie and Clyde to arrive. As Barrow approached in the stolen automobile, he sensed the trap and accelerated past his family's car, at which point the lawmen unleashed a hail of bullets. Unable to continue in the decimated vehicle, Parker and Barrow were forced flee on foot, successfully escaping despite wounds to their legs from a bullet that passed through the car. The members of the five-man posse—Smoot Schmid, Millard E. Sweatt, Ted Hinton, Ed Caster, and Bob Alcorn—discovered a cache of Bonnie and Clyde’s personal effects inside the car, and most of them took home a variety of relics ranging from bullets to lipstick cases. This ring is recorded in Schmid’s inventory as “Bonnie Parker Ring (3 Silver Snakes with Tiny Jewels).”