Requires Photography

Betrothal ring

North Italian (Umbria)
15th century


Object Place: Europe, Italy

Dimensions

Height x width (central medallion): 5/16 x 5/8 in. (0.8 x 1.6 cm) Height x width (shank): 13/16 x 15/16 in. (2 x 2.4 cm)

Accession Number

01.5977

Medium or Technique

Silver, niello

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery E (Gallery 219)

Collections

Europe, Jewelry

Classifications

Rings

Betrothal ring with 3 medallions and clasped hands on back of shank. Central medallion with niello portrait of woman in profile and the two side panels with niello decorative designs.


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