Pope's goldsmith hopes ring will be spared destruction
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The goldsmith who crafted the "Fisherman's Ring" worn by Pope Benedict XVI said he hoped his work would not be destroyed once the pontiff steps down as is customary in Catholic tradition. "I hope the ring is preserved and exhibited. It is a jewel that has so much symbolic value," Claudio Franchi, a Rome artisan who was commissioned to make the gold ring when the pope was elected in 2005, told AFP in an interview yesterday. Benedict was the first pope since the 19th century to commission a "Fisherman's Ring" his predecessor John Paul II wore a simple gold ring with a cross and he has worn the chunky gold ring at all his major public appearances. The ring is so called because it depicts Saint Peter, who was a fisherman by trade, pulling up his net from a boat. The one worn by the current pontiff carries the inscription "Benedictus XVI" the pope's official title in Latin. Benedict referred to it at his first mass as pope in which he was handed the papal pallium a type of vestment and the ring. He spoke of the Gospel story of Jesus Christ telling his future disciples that he would make them "fishers of men".