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Betrothal ring

Fede ring

Italian
15th–16th century


Object Place: Europe, Italy

Dimensions

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

01.5974

Medium or Technique

Silver

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery E (Gallery 219)

Collections

Europe, Jewelry

Classifications

Rings

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