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Gimmel ring

Possibly Germany

16th century

Gold gimmel ring, the high square double quatrefoil bezel with two lobes on each side, chased and enamelled and set with four rubies, the twin hoops chased with bead and loop moulding and inscribed inside in Latin MEMENTO.PRAETERIT.ET.FUTURI.TEMPORIS.STET (Remember the past and that there is a future), the shoulders decorated with coloured enamel and scrollwork and set with a ruby

16.31 mm internal ring diameter; 6.67 g weight

Bought in London, 1877

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1897.CDEF.F455

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. The inscriptions generally refer to the permanence of the marriage bond but equally remind the wearer of their mortal state.

Scarisbrick and Henig, Finger Rings, 2003, pl.16.1

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