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Jewish marriage ring

16th century

Gold Jewish marriage ring, the bezel formed as a high pitched roof with blue enamelled tiling covering an inner hinged lid to a box, beneath engraved in Hebrew Mazal tov (good luck), the hoop decorated with five rosettes of open filigree work topped by a five-petalled flower in blue enamel, and a hanging corded ring. On each side is a border of small rosettes between corded work

17.93 mm internal ring diameter; 18.4 g weight

Bought in London

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1897.CDEF.F443

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.

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