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  • Place of origin:

    Europe (west, made)

  • Date:

    17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Enamelled gold set with table-cut diamonds and a ruby

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Rings set with the device of two clasped hands are often known as 'fede' rings, from the Italian 'mani in fede' or 'hands clasped in faith' although in England they were often known as 'hand in hand' rings. The symbolism refers to the handclasp used in the marriage service and they were used as wedding or betrothal rings. The silver wrists are set with small table cut diamonds whilst one of the clasped hands wears its own tiny ruby ring.

This ring forms part of a collection of 760 rings and engraved gems from the collection of Edmund Waterton (1830-87). Waterton was one of the foremost ring collectors of the nineteenth century and was the author of several articles on rings, a book on English devotion to the Virgin Mary and an unfinished catalogue of his collection (the manuscript is now the National Art Library). Waterton was noted for his extravagance and financial troubles caused him to place his collection in pawn with the London jeweller Robert Phillips. When he was unable to repay the loan, Phillips offered to sell the collection to the Museum and it was acquired in 1871. A small group of rings which Waterton had held back were acquired in 1899.

Physical description

Enamelled gold fede ring, set with table-cut diamonds and a ruby.

Place of Origin

Europe (west, made)


17th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Enamelled gold set with table-cut diamonds and a ruby


Diameter: 2.3 cm, Width: 2.1 cm, Depth: 0.8 cm

Object history note

ex Waterton Collection

Descriptive line

Enamelled gold fede ring, set with table-cut diamonds and a ruby, West Europe, 17th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Oman, Charles, Catalogue of rings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1930, reprinted Ipswich, 1993, p.l 105, cat. 665
Bury, Shirley, Jewellery Gallery Summary Catalogue (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982), 34/C/22


Gold; Diamond; Ruby




Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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