Around Sijilmasa there are deposits of gold and silver. The gold is found like plants, and it is said that the wind blows it away.
—Al-Ya‘qubi, 9th century
Founded in the 8th century, Sijilmasa sits along the northern edge of the Sahara Desert in southeastern Morocco, adjacent to present-day Rissani. It lies in the Tafilalt Oasis, a basin of alluvial soils. Sijilmasa was a vital link in the African gold trade. Its mint struck gold coins as early as the 10th century, and evidence strongly suggests that West African gold passed through the area by the 4th century. While much of Sijilmasa was abandoned in the late 14th century, parts of the city, such as the great mosque, continued to be used until the turn of the 20th century.
Excavations at Sijilmasa have revealed the remains of a citadel, an ore-processing site, a mosque, and an elite residence where the small gold filigree ring in the nearby case was found. A caravan market, Souk Ben Akla, was located three miles west of the city on the banks of the Rheris River.