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Gimmel ring

Unknown

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Object Type
The ring bears a Latin inscription from the marriage service, which confirms that it was used as a wedding ring. On one half are the words 'QUOD DEVS CONIVNXIT' ('What God has joined together') and on the other 'HOMO NON SEPARET' ( 'Let no man put asunder'). It is made of two intertwined halves, hence its name 'gimmel', which derives from the Latin gemellus, a twin. It can also be described as a 'fede' ring (Fede, Italian for 'trust') because of the two clasped hands on the bezel (head) of the ring, which indicate union, the plighting of love or friendship.

Ownership & Use
The style of the decoration and the Latin inscription suggest that the ring may have been made in Germany for a Catholic marriage. At the date when this ring was made, about 1600, it may well have been worn on the right rather than the left hand, according to the normal Roman Catholic practice. In 1614 in Catholic Europe the Rituale Romanum (an official Catholic book concerning the services of the church) laid down that the left hand was to be used, as now. English Roman Catholics, however, followed the old practice until about the middle of the 18th century.

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Details

  • Title: Gimmel ring
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1595/1604
  • Location: Germany
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 2.1 cm estimated
  • Medium: Gold, cast, chased and enamelled

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