Italian Gold Rosary Decade Ring
Rings have a ancient historical tradition of use for religious significance. Here is a 20th century Italian ring in a form often termed a decade or rosary ring. Of 18k yellow gold, there are small knobs all along its outer edge, each one representing a procession of prayers to be said. At the center a cross of crucifix is reserved for praying the Our Father. Similar to a rosary, these ring were first developed back at a time when the practice of Catholicism was considered a crime. One could certainly not carry something as identifiable as a rosary. But one could have a ring for the same purpose, with no one else the wiser.
Date: Mid 20th century.
Measurements: Just shy of 1/8 of an inch (2 cm) in length north to south on the hand and weighs 3.2 grams (2.1 dwt).
Ring Size: Currently a size US 9-1/4 (UK just shy of S; Int. Dia. 19; 60 mm; Japan 18) and easily sized up but can only be sized down with inserts. Contact us for more details. Ring sizing information.
Hallmarks: 750 and a worn mark.
Condition: Very good.
Origin: Italian in origin.
Decade or rosary rings, appear to date back as early as the 14th century. Often they have knobs, usually ten, although occasionally eleven, a larger central top, sometimes a plaque with IHS symbol, crucifix or just a larger knob. Religious in nature, the beads act are an aid (as in a rosary) for saying the Aves or prayers with the center or Paternoster, commonly referred to as the Our Father.
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the country was on the brink of a division along Protestant and Catholic lines. Laws were enacted making Catholics guilty of many crimes -- primarily because they would not acknowledge the King or Queen as the head of the Church, and therefore they could not be fully loyal to the monarchy. Decade rings gained popularity as a way to secretly practice that faith; a rosary being rather evident whereas a ring can be easily hidden. Rings of this nature were made through the 18th century during which time those laws were largely ignored. By 1829, Catholics were formally given emancipation.
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