Requires Photography

Betrothal ring

Fede ring

15th–16th century

Object Place: Europe, Italy


Height x width (bezel): 1/4 x 1/2 in. (0.7 x 1.2 cm) Height x width (shank): 15/16 x 15/16 in. (2.4 x 2.4 cm)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery E (Gallery 219)


Europe, Jewelry



Betrothal ring with hands clasped in opposition, with each hand a separate, overlapped entity. There are two very worn heads on the shoulders.

These three pieces of jewelry are all associated with marriage. The clasping hands on one of the rings represent the marriage vow, and a promise of fidelity (the Italian word for wedding ring is fede, or faith). The profile portrait of a woman appears on the other ring, between what seem to be coats-of-arms that signify the joining of two families; clasping hands complete the circle, making clear the association with marriage. Finally, the paired profiles on the pendant join the couples in everlasting dialogue.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Alice L. Boardman. The William D. Boardman Collection