A delightful, sculpturesque Fede ring conveying love and loyalty

Plain gold hoop with capital-like shoulders decorated with scrolls and floral ornament. The bezel is formed of two clasped right hands with cuffs, known as a “fede” motif. Some engraved ornamentation suggests of the ring was partly enameled. The ring shows signs of wear with a minor notch on the lower part. The ring is in good wearable condition.


The symbolism of the joined right hands goes back to Roman Antiquity and was then known as “dextrarum iunctio.”  The right hand was sacred to the Fides, the goddess of trust and good faith. In Roman times, the joining of the right hands by a betrothed couple was a sign of loyalty and marked the conclusion of a marriage contract, much like the tradition today during modern wedding ceremonies

This motif continued to be popular throughout Western Europe for betrothal and wedding rings from the medieval and Renaissance periods into the 20th century, and are known as fede rings (from the Italian for trust or loyalty).

Similar examples are in the Alice and Louis Koch Collection in the Swiss National Museum, Zurich (Chadour, vol. 1, nos. 728-730 and 732); Griffin Collection on deposit in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Hindman/Scott Miller 2015, no. 41) and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Scarisbrick/Henig, 2003, pp. 48-49, no. 4).


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