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Gimmel ring

Germany

Late 16th century

Silver-gilt gimmel ring, the bezel with four lobes and chased for enamelling on the sides, set with a chrysoprase or beryl and a garnet; inscribed within, WAS GOTT ZU SAMEN FUGET SOL DER MENSCH NICHT SCHEIDEN (Those whom God hath joined let no man put asunder)

17.93 mm internal ring diameter; 4.34 g weight

Bought in London

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1897.CDEF.F518

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.

Taylor & Scarisbrick, Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the present day, 1978, no. 712