This is a wonderful Renaissance silver Gimmel ring, dating to the 16th century A.D. The name gimmal comes from Latin gemellus, twin, via Old French. They consist of a single ring with two or three hoops or links that fit together to form one complete ring. They were known as 'joint' rings in Elizabethan England.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, such rings were fashionable in England, Germany, and other countries, and were often used as betrothal rings. The engaged couple would wear one hoop each and rejoin them to use as a wedding ring. With triple link rings, a third person could witness the couple's vows and hold the third part of the ring until the marriage.
Rather than having a more common pair of clasped hands on the bezel (known as a fede type ring and more common during the 17th century) this earlier ring is decorated with two hearts. The hearts are a bit worn and bumped from a long period of wear, but original and a nice feature.
OBJECT: Gimmel Ring
DATE: c. 16th century A.D.
RING SIZE: 7 (US) O (UK)
SIZE: 22mm x 21mm x 3mm
WEIGHT: 1.8 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. European Private Collection
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