A gold, enamel and gem-set gimmal ring,
Lot 32
A gold, enamel and gem-set gimmal ring,
Sold for £20,400 (US$ 34,288) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A gold, enamel and gem-set gimmal ring, probably 2nd quarter of the 17th century
Composed of two co-joined gold hoops, each with a Latin inscription in black enamel to the interior, forming a quatrefoil bezel set with a table-cut ruby and a table-cut diamond, decorated with polychrome enamel, the scrolling shoulders with beaded decoration, ruby is a later replacement, ring size N


  • Gimmal rings of this type were given as marriage rings, the co-joined hoops, each with one half of an inscription, symbolic of the couple united by holy vows. The diamond-set hoop in this example is inscribed RELINQVET HOMO PATREM ET and the ruby-set hoop is inscribed MATREM ET ADHEREBIT VXORI. The Latin translates "a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife" (Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:31). The ruby is representative of love, the diamond of constancy. Popular from the 16th century, they continued to be manufactured during the 17th century.

    Cf: Ward, Cherry, Gere, Cartlidge, The Ring from Antiquity to the 20th Century, London, 1981, plate 207 and Chadour, Anna Beatriz, Rings, The Alice and Louis Koch Collection, Volume 1, Leeds, 1994, plates 705 and 706.

    With grateful thanks to the Department of Metalwork, V&A Museum, for their assistance in dating this ring.