Cuffs of the hands have two fine stripes of milgrain, the upper and lower bands are detailed with a fine line running through them. The central band that holds the hearts is detailed with microfine ridges like the edge of a coin. The ring is sweetened with a soft wear, edges have been polished smooth, and the detailing begins to disappear toward the back of the ring. The hands glide into place. Unsigned, 9k gold.
Fede rings have been used for centuries to symbolize the union of two people: in friendship, in marriage. They've been the wedding ring of royalty, and gifts between friends. I love the timelessness of this symbol - this one, to me, speaks of a secret love.
In very good condition. Hands clasp snugly, and rings fit together quite close. Light surface wear to the hearts where the hands have moved over them. A beautiful patina between the rings.
U.S. Ring Size 5 1/4, British Size K 1/4, due to the complexity of design in this piece, the ring cannot be sized.
Here's a fine example of a fede gimmel ring from 1600 in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum:
And a bit from Wikipedia:
"Around 1600 the gimmal ring began to sometimes incorporate the clasped hands of the fede ring and a third symbol, a heart, was added, sometimes with a third shank. Designs involving clasped hands, and sometimes a heart, remained popular after the Renaissance. Similar imagery is found on other love rings, including claddagh rings.
The Benjamin Zucker collection in the Walters Museum in Baltimore contains two elaborate gimmal rings incorporating small hidden enameled sculptural details visible only when the bands are separated. By the late 18th century multiple shanks of 5 or more were made, sometimes collected at the back by a pivot, so they hinged like a fan.
Joint ring was a name used in Elizabethan England. There are several references to gimmal rings in Shakespeare's plays, including a joint-ring mentioned in Othello. Robert Herrick's poem The Jimmall Ring or True-Love Knot (1648) is founded on a gimmal (jimmall) ring."
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