North Italian (Umbria)
Object Place: Europe, Italy
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)
Medium or Technique
Italian Renaissance Gallery E (Gallery 219)
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.
Gift of Mrs. Alice L. Boardman. The William D. Boardman Collection