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The giving of a ring as a symbol of love became explicit in the 15th century with the development of the gimmel or gemel ring. This type of finger ring was composed of two and sometimes three separate hoops linked together forming one shank at the base but split lengthwise so that the hoops could sit together to give the appearance of just one ring. Such rings would be worn as engagement or wedding bands and were sometimes separated and worn in this way until re-joined by a goldsmith following the marriage.
Rings have been used to commemorate betrothal and marriage for centuries, the gift of a ring at a betrothal ceremony symbolising a promise of marriage and shared eternity. The custom of placing the betrothal or wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand owes its origin to the belief that a special nerve or vein ran directly from that finger to the heart, although there is no anatomical evidence of that.
The fede ring dates back to Roman times and shows a pair of hands clasped together in friendship, love or betrothal from the Latin word fede, meaning trust. The ring became especially popular in Europe from the 12th to the 18th century and sometimes the gimmel ring incorporated the clasped hands.
Posy rings were another form of love ring fashionable from the late Middle Ages until the 16th century, the word “posy” being derived from “poesy” or “poetry”. The inside of the ring was inscribed with a secret message of love such as, “Let Love Endure” or “Faithful and True” or “Let Us Love Like Turtle Dove”.
Something simple in these modern times with St. Valentine’s Day in February might be to just say “Be My Valentine”.
Need a special ring for a special person?
With the assistance of La Vogue Vintage's dedicated team of designers, silver and goldsmiths we can custom make that special ring for you. Email us and we can have a chat over a coffee to create your vision. La Vogue Vintage can also inscribe that personal message inside the ring ensuring your loved one can always read your words of love.