Medieval Silver Gilt Ring Brooch Clasped Hands
This is a charming medieval silver-gilt ring-brooch, dating to the 14th century AD. This example is formed with a pair of clasped hands in prayer, clasping a white glass pearl. This is an unusual feature as the gems are often missing (see LON-8B523A for discussion).
Ring-brooches are the most common type medieval brooch to survive and had a practical function: to fasten tunics, especially at the neck. Shaped as rings, with a long central pin, these brooches varied enormously in size and could be tiny, smaller than a fingernail. Ring-brooches were made of costly gold or silver, or of much cheaper copper or pewter. They were worn mostly until the late fourteenth century when changing fashions in dress included more closely tailored clothes and the growing use of button fastenings.
This example is intact and very delicate, originally suitable for securing silks or light feminine fabrics. The brooch is made from solid silver (tested) coated with a thick yellow mercurial gold gilding. The silver has toned to a dark brown in places.
DATE: c. 1300 - 1400 AD
MATERIAL: Silver/gold gilded
SIZE: 24mm x 17mm x 2mm
WEIGHT: 1.7 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Tom Cederlind Collection, USA. Originally found in Gloucestershire. U.K.