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Renaissance Silver Gilt Fede Ring Circa 1650


The history of the fede or “clasped hands” ring goes back into antiquity. In Roman times this type of ring was often referred to as Concordia – for Concord, the goddess of harmony who was worshiped as the bringer of marital harmony. From the 12th through the 17th century it was a fairly common form of marriage ring and occasionally employed as a ring that represented friendship. Most were in silver or silver gilt, few in gold. The motif is seen again in the 19th century and still found today.

In this instance, the flaming heart is embraced by two hands. Only a suggestion of the heart is apparent as evidenced by the three peaks at the top. Note the more masculine hand to the right clasping the smaller feminine hand on the left. Of interest as well are the trefoil designs emulating cuffs.

The ring is fire gilded silver as was common for the time. Fire gilding leaves a surface of gold with unmatched color and great durability over time. Clues to dating this type of ring lie in part to the style and expression of the hands as well as to the cuff designs.

Date: Circa 1650.

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Condition: Very good; light wear to fire gilding with faint silver showing through at the high points; on reverse a bit of light black scratching; a bit of wear to side design. Overall this antique ring is intact and very fine. The patina is warm and gold color is buttery.

Measurements: Width is 3/8 of an inch (1 cm) at the widest and 3/16 of an inch (0.4 cm) at the back. Weight of 5 grams.

Ring Size: US 8-3/4 (UK R; Euro 18.75, 59 mm). This ring cannot be sized by standard methods. However, it may be able to be sized with inserts or similar means. Please contact us for more information.

Note: For similar examples please refer to plate 54 in Charles Oman's "British Rings 800-1014".

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