56608Re: Wedding and Engagement Rings
- Dec 3, 2007--- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Sarah" <thswildcats@...> wrote:
> For curiosities sake were there any symbols that declared one as wed
> or unwed?
> Thanks, SarahWhile in a library today, I found a big book that might be helpful:
Diana Scarisbrick "Rings: Symbols of wealth, power and affection"
(London: Thames & Hudson, 1993) ISBN: 0-8109-3775-1
It mentions rings being worn by nuns as a symbol of their marriage to
Jesus, as well as rings being worn by widows.
I didn't have much loose change on me, so I didn't get to photocopy
everything I wanted to, but I copied some of the more interesting parts.
p.49-50 Mentions diamond rings.
"In 1518 when the infant Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII, was
married by proxy to the baby Dauphin of France, Cardinal Wolsey, who
was officiating, put a diamond ring on her finger. This contract being
annulled, she was again betrothed, at the age of six, in 1522 to her
cousin... Emporer Charles V who sent her a ring with a diamond....
Another diamond ring was used at the marriage of Marguerite of
Angouleme to Henry II of Navarre in 1527 was explained by Typotius:
the round hoop signifying eternity and the diamond bezel signifying
glory represented a king and queen bound together by everlasting love."
There is a little bit more information about diamond wedding rings in
George E. Harlow "The Nature of Diamonds" (Cambridge University Press,
1998) ISBN: 0521629357
Another style of ring is the Gimmel ring, which is sort of like a
puzzle ring, with two or more rings attached together to make one big
There is also a book co-authored by Scarisbrick about the rings at the
Ashmolean museum, "Finger Rings"
Google books version with colour pictures:
Some photos of wedding rings:
Jewish betrothal ring?
Posy rings at Oxford:
Pairs of 15th century posy rings:
A Fede (hand-clasp design) ring from Italy:
It seems that wedding and betrothal rings were used as a sign of
relationship status, which I thought became quite clear when looking
at the rings worn by nuns as 'brides of Christ' and widows, I just
wish I had photocopied that page so I could give you a better
reference. Also, the sort of lovey-dovey messages on the rings might
indicate that the rings are symbols of affection and love rather than
ownership. Or it's a way of showing how hip you were when it came to
your credentials in courtly love.
Hope the information helps,
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