Medieval Silver Wedding Ring "Fede" Type
This is a nice medieval silver betrothal/wedding ring, dating to the 14th - 15th century A.D. It is decorated with a pair of hands clasped, with a larger male hand gripping a slender female hand. The shoulders bear a faint design, much worn through a lifetime of wear. The inside of the band bears at least one resizing maybe two, so this ring was potentially passed from successive generations as an heirloom wedding band.
Medieval lovers gave each other rings, and rings were used to mark betrothals and weddings, but among surviving rings, it is impossible today to distinguish these different uses. Such rings are generally called 'fede' (faith) rings. Rings showing clasped hands first appeared in Roman times when they represented a legal contract. Since the clasping of hands was part of the medieval betrothal ceremony, it is not surprising to find rings that can be attributed to the 'wedding ring' genre. Either way, it would be impossible to distinguish this ring as commemorative of love, betrothal or marriage.
The ring has survived in good excavated condition, although very worn with traces of the original gold gilding in places.
OBJECT: Wedding Ring
DATE: c. 1350 - 1450 A.D.
RING SIZE: 10 1/2 (US) U 1/2 (UK)
SIZE: 22mm x 22mm x 2.5mm (bezel 16mm x 7mm x 1mm)
WEIGHT: 1.98 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. European Private Collection, Munich.