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Jewish marriage ring

16th century

Gold Jewish marriage ring, the hoop stamped with groups of four trefoils punched with chevron borders; the rectangular edicule with sixteen pierced windows, steep gabled roof and six pinnacles (one lost). One side pierced with Hedrew inscription, Mazal tov (good luck).

17.93 mm internal ring diameter; 16.7 g weight

Bought in Florence

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1897.CDEF.F440

The distinctive Jewish wedding ring has been in use since the seventh and eighth centuries. Their origin, however, remains unknown. They were originally ascribed to Venice where there was a large population of Jews, but the enamelled gold filigree work is closer in style to that of Transylvanian goldsmiths. They were only used during the ceremony. The bridegroom placed it on the middle finger of the bride's right hand.

Taylor & Scarisbrick, Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the present day, 1978, no. 472