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Gimmel ring

Possibly France

19th century

Gold gimmel ring, the hoop faceted and in two separate halves which are held together by small studs; marked IW and a horse's head

16.31 mm internal ring diameter; 1.56 g weight

Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1897.CDEF.F569

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. 922