Schwäbisch Gmünd, a small town in south Germany, has produced silver objects and jewellery since the 14th century. By the first half of the 19th century it was the main centre of production for small silver items in the region. The silversmiths specialised in popular and devotional jewellery. They sold their work at markets throughout the Alpine region, and at major international trade fairs all over Europe. They also obtained lucrative contracts to mass-produce devotional jewels for the numerous places of pilgrimage in Austria, Bavaria and Switzerland.
This ring is typical of traditional women’s rings from south Germany. The crucifixes on the shoulders show that it would have been worn by a Catholic. It is marked on the outside of the shank with the unicorn’s head mark of Schwäbisch Gmünd, and the silver mark 12.