Medieval Rings

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Getting engaged in July? The betrothal or marriage ring

Although June has always been the most popular month for weddings, July ranks high as a time to get engaged. Over two thousand years of custom associates rings with marriage. Here are some fascinating examples. Already in ancient Rome, the giving of a ring marked the moment of the “contract” or betrothal to marry. Rings with clasped hands engraved on a bezel and those with a portrayal of the standing couple are most probably betrothal rings. By the fifteenth century until today, diamonds went with marriage, such as in this lovely Baroque cluster ring or an unusual ring, fashionably set with twenty-one brilliants and enameled initials “GM.”  A document of 1685 specifically identifies a Posy ring that is inscribed “God above increase our love” as a “wedding ring,” even if some posies were just precious gifts between friends or lovers. Jewish wedding rings were intended for ceremonial use, rather than wearing; they often bear scrolled inscriptions on the interior “Mazel tov.” Good luck.

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  • Although June has always been the most popular month for weddings, July ranks high as a time to get engaged. Over two thousand years of custom associates rings with marriage. Here are some fascinating examples. Already in ancient Rome, the giving of a ring marked the moment of the “contract” or betrothal to marry. Rings with clasped hands engraved on a bezel and those with a portrayal of the standing couple are most probably betrothal rings. By the fifteenth century until today, diamonds went with marriage, such as in this lovely Baroque cluster ring or an unusual ring, fashionably set with twenty-one brilliants and enameled initials “GM.” A document of 1685 specifically identifies a Posy ring that is inscribed “God above increase our love” as a “wedding ring,” even if some posies were just precious gifts between friends or lovers. Jewish wedding rings were intended for ceremonial use, rather than wearing; they often bear scrolled inscriptions on the interior “Mazel tov.” Good luck.