This is a wonderful medieval silver-gilt betrothal / wedding ring, dating to the 14th - 15th century A.D. This ring is comparable to another I recently sold, with Lombardic script (see here). Both rings share similarities with the decorative shoulders, but this example lacks an inscription which can give us a more precise date. The ring retains the original mercurial gold gilding to the bezel and shoulders, the band left plain silver for an added partial-gilt contrast. Today the silver has darkened, but will easily clean up if one so chooses.
Medieval lovers gave each other rings, and rings were used to mark betrothals and weddings, but among surviving rings it is impossible today to distinguish these different uses. Such rings are are generally called 'fede' (faith) rings. Rings showing clasped hands first appeared in Roman times, when they represented legal contract. Since the clasping of hands was part of the medieval betrothal ceremony, it is not surprising to find rings that can be attributed within the 'wedding ring' genre. Either way it would be impossible to distinguish this ring as commemorative of love, betrothal or marriage - what we can say is that this ring would have been given to a man to wear. During this period a strict code of sumptuary laws forbade the wearing of silver and gold jewellery to lower classes in society, thus we can be sure this gentleman would have been a knight or nobleman.
Today this charming piece of medieval jewellery has come down to us in excellent condition. It is of good stable silver, with a nice tone. Ideal ancient ring to be safely worn again today.
OBJECT: Wedding Ring
DATE: c. 1350 - 1450 A.D.
RING SIZE: 9 3/4 (US) T 1/4 (UK)
SIZE: 21.90mm x 22.92mm x 3.32mm (bezel 14.58mm x 8.25mm)
WEIGHT: 2.8 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. private collection Nottingham, England.
Item code: (#AR00XVANT753)
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