This bronze fede ring, circa 1300AD, features two hands joined together at the bezel.
This delicate ring of 1.7g, in full wearable condition, would have symbolised the marriage of two people in a ceremony that would have been traditional to the local community.
Size O UK/AU, 7 US/CA, 55¼ FR/RU, 17¼ DE
Authenticity: This ring is accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity from an established ancient artefact gallery in central London. The gallery is the official partner and representative of Ralf Kotalla German authenticity Laboratory in the UK and the document is signed by their lead expert with a PhD in Archaeology.
Provenance: From a London gallery, acquired from a collector; previously acquired on the UK/European art market in the 1980s.
Important Notes: This item is excluded from our Free Resizing service. As an ancient artefact we will not alter it.
The fede motif (two clasped hands joined at the bezel) represents the joining of hands of the couple at a marriage ceremony, a practice that dates back to ancient Rome and was known as 'dextrarum iunctio'. Until Lord Hardwicke's 1753 Act of Marriage there was no clearly defined process for a marriage ceremony and entering the state of matrimony was governed by local customs and rituals. With the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer in 1549 by Edward VI (r.1547-53), there was a clear attempt to encourage people to marry within a church. Nevertheless, canon law prevailed and for this all that was required was the mutual consent of both parties. In addition to uttering words expressing this consent, there were certain signs and symbols that could indicate consent; the holding of hands and the giving of a ring were two of these visible signs.