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Ring brooch

Ring brooch

  • Place of origin:

    Vierlande (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1869 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved silver

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 71, shelf D, box 3

Ring brooches are the commonest kind of traditional brooch in northern Europe. They can be circular or heart-shaped, and their design dates from the Middle Ages. They differ from modern brooches in the way they fasten. The wearer pulls the cloth of the garment through the central hole, and then spears it with the pin. The greater the strain on the pin, the more secure the fastening.

Ring brooches from the Vierlande are usually large and circular. Women wore them at the neck of their shirt, to keep it fastened. On working days they wore a plain silver brooch, like this one. These were usually decorated with an engraved design of flowers or leaves, with a pair of turtle doves and a heart at the top. On feast days, they swapped the everyday brooch for a much more elaborate one, decorated with applied filigree, gilding and coloured pastes.

Both kinds of brooch often have names or initials, and dates, engraved on the back, showing that they were originally betrothal or wedding gifts. These inscriptions are almost always scratched or stippled by the bride or groom themselves, not professionally engraved.

Physical description

Flat, circular, slightly convex, ring brooch, engraved on the front with a pattern of flowers and birds with a crown at the top.

Place of Origin

Vierlande (made)


ca. 1869 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraved silver

Marks and inscriptions

Presumably the initials and date of the owner
Stippled on back.


Diameter: 6.1 cm, Depth: 0.8 cm

Descriptive line

Silver ring brooch (Hemdspange) engraved with birds and flowers, Vierlande (North Germany), 19th century.





Subjects depicted

Heart; Doves


Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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