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Gimmel ring

Spain, Madeira

19th century

Gold gimmel ring, the bezel consisting of two clasped hands which cover a double heart when closed

16.71 mm internal ring diameter; 3.24 g weight

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1897.CDEF.F570

The gimmel ring (from the Latin 'gemellus' meaning twins) has a double interlaced hoop and bezel. On the betrothal of the couple, each lover would be given one part of the ring and then on the occasion of the marriage the two parts were linked together. They were particularly popular in Germany in the 16th and 17th centuries although their existence can be traced back to 14th century England. This is a particularly late example.

Taylor & Scarisbrick, Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the present day, 1978, no. 923

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