A beautiful late Roman ring formed of intricate beaded open-work filigree on the shoulders either side of a large oval bezel. The bezel is deep sided with a flared decorative band around its midriff, the centre is set with a repousse panel displaying the clasped-hands motif.
The ancient Romans did not use engagement rings or wedding rings in exactly the same way as we do today. However, we know that in some cases, prior to the wedding ceremony, the sponsus offered his or her spouse (sponsa) a ring, the annulus pronubus. In archaeological research, it is difficult to recognize when and with what purpose a jewel was given - and that is true of wedding and engagement rings as well. However, there are a small group of rings that are well identified as annuli pronubi. It depicts the moment of joining the two right hands of husband and wife, a moment at the ceremony of the Roman marriage called dextrarum iunctio. The bezel on this ring depicts such a scene, thus most likely the original intent, especially with such a nice gold band. See also DOR-29D957, Ref: Catherine Johns, The Jewellery of Roman Britain. p.63. fig 3.25.
This ring is in excellent excavated condition and can still be used and worn again today.
OBJECT: Finger Ring/ Wedding Ring
DATE: c. 4th century AD
RING SIZE: 7 (US) O (UK)
SIZE: 21mm x 22mm x 4mm (bezel 16mm x 15mm x 4mm)
WEIGHT: 4.87 grams
PROVENANCE: From a private collection, Ex Warwick & Warwick auction.
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