Signet ring


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

This fourteenth century ring combines a heraldic lion, probably used as a signet, with a Christian phrase. 'In manus tuas domine commendo spiritum meum' (Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit, Luke 23:46), the words spoken by Jesus before his death on the Cross, are engraved around the hoop. Biblical phrases are frequently found upon jewellery, often intended to give the jewel a protective or amuletic function.

Religious phrases, sometimes combined with magical names and invocations, were written on parchment and worn as amulets or engraved on jewellery worn close to the body. They were believed to protect the wearer against both physical and spiritual dangers.

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  • Title: Signet ring
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1300/1400
  • Location: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 2.5 cm, Width: 2.2 cm, Depth: 1.3 cm
  • Provenance: Given by Dame Joan Evans
  • Medium: Engraved gold ring with a nielloed inscription and set with an onyx intaglio.

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