This is an ancient Roman gold wedding ring, dating to the 3rd - 4th century A.D. The ring decorated with a pair of clasped hands, known as a dextrarum iunctio. The shoulders taper towards the back of the hoop and are engraved as to represent leaves.
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 engaement 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.
It is a wonderful example that has survived in good excavated condition, the soft gold is a bit wavy from its time in the ground but can still be used and worn again today.
OBJECT: Finger Ring
DATE: c. 3rd - 4th century AD
RING SIZE: 5 1/4 (US) K 1/4 (UK)
SIZE: 16mm x 18mm x 3mm (bezel 16mm x 13mm x 1mm)
WEIGHT: 3.71 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. European Private Collection. Rouen, France.
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