Ring thumbnail 1
Ring thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Ring

1575-1650 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

A gimmel ring (from the Latin 'gemellus', or twin) comprises two or sometimes three interlaced hoops with separate bezels that can be joined snugly together. They were often decorated with clasped hands and hearts, and engraved with romantic mottoes, the phrases from marriage services or with the names of a couple. This suggests they were often used as wedding rings, although they could also be given as more general symbols of friendship and alliance. The form has its origins in single-hooped Roman rings designed to look as though they had more than one hoop thanks to the arrangement of bezels around them. Rings with interlaced hoops are mentioned in early-thirteenth-century Europe, and were particularly popular in the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century. Rings with a bezel of clasped hands, such as this one, are often known as 'fede' rings (Italian, 'faith, trust'). The term was popular among nineteenth-century collectors, though it is found as early as the seventeenth century. Among the definitions of 'fede' in John Florio's 1611 Dictionarie of the Italian and English Tongues is 'a ring made with hand in hand'.

The inscriptions inside the hoop of the ring probably refer to a wedding between Cornelisie, the daughter of Engels and Symon, the son of Cornelis. The joined hands and interlocking hoops form a visual symbol of the union which marriage has created.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Enamelled gold set with turquoises.
Brief Description
Enamelled gold gimmel ring, set with turquoises, decorated with one hand with a heart and strapwork on the shoulders, the left hoop inscribed 'SYMON CORNELIS Z.', the right one inscribed 'CORNELISIE ENGELS. D.', Holland, late 16th or early 17th century.
Physical Description
Enamelled gold gimmel ring, set with turquoises, decorated with clasped hands (one holding a heart) and strapwork on the shoulders, the left hoop inscribed 'SYMON CORNELIS Z.', the right one inscribed 'CORNELISIE ENGELS. D.', Holland, late 16th or early 17th century.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.4cm
  • Width: 2.3cm
  • Depth: 0.7cm
Marks and Inscriptions
the left hoop inscribed 'SYMON CORNELIS Z.', the right one inscribed 'CORNELISIE ENGELS. D.' (The letters D and Z probably refer to ‘daughter’ (dochter in Dutch) and ‘son’ (zoon in Dutch). It was very common in the Netherlands for a surname to consist of the name of the father or mother. Thus the name might be abbreviated as Cornleliszn. For this ring SYMON is the son of CORNELIS and CORNELISIE is the daughter of ENGELS. )
Gallery Label
Case 34, Board C, no. 28 Enamelled gold, set with turquoises. Gimmel fede ring, one hand with a heart. Strapwork on shoulders. Hoop inscribed: SYMON. CORNELISZ./ CORNELISIE ENCELS.D. DUTCH: late 16th century. Acquired by Dame Joan Evans, 1930. M.281-1962 Given by Dame Joan Evans (1972-1982)
Credit line
Given by Dame Joan Evans
Object history
Acquired by Dame Joan Evans in 1930 and presented to the Museum by her in 1962.
Subjects depicted
Summary
A gimmel ring (from the Latin 'gemellus', or twin) comprises two or sometimes three interlaced hoops with separate bezels that can be joined snugly together. They were often decorated with clasped hands and hearts, and engraved with romantic mottoes, the phrases from marriage services or with the names of a couple. This suggests they were often used as wedding rings, although they could also be given as more general symbols of friendship and alliance. The form has its origins in single-hooped Roman rings designed to look as though they had more than one hoop thanks to the arrangement of bezels around them. Rings with interlaced hoops are mentioned in early-thirteenth-century Europe, and were particularly popular in the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century. Rings with a bezel of clasped hands, such as this one, are often known as 'fede' rings (Italian, 'faith, trust'). The term was popular among nineteenth-century collectors, though it is found as early as the seventeenth century. Among the definitions of 'fede' in John Florio's 1611 Dictionarie of the Italian and English Tongues is 'a ring made with hand in hand'.



The inscriptions inside the hoop of the ring probably refer to a wedding between Cornelisie, the daughter of Engels and Symon, the son of Cornelis. The joined hands and interlocking hoops form a visual symbol of the union which marriage has created.
Bibliographic References
  • Bury, Shirley. Jewellery Gallery Summary Catalogue, 2nd edn. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982. ISBN 090520929X
  • Taylor, Gerald and Diana Scarisbrick. Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. London: Lund Humphries for The Ashmolean Museum Oxford and The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, 1978. Catalogue of an exhibition held at Goldsmiths' Hall, London, and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, July - Sept. 1978. ISBN 0900090545.
  • Scarisbrick, Diana. Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty. London: Thames and Hudson, 2007. ISBN 9780500513644
  • Church, Rachel. Rings. London: V&A Publishing, 2011. ISBN 9781851776504
Collection
Accession Number
M.281-1962

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record createdNovember 16, 2005
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