The unified hands of this fede ring tell a tale which is intrinsically beautiful to its existence. The passage of time in which a jewel survives often leads to its condition. Rings which are pristine and unspoiled with complete sentimental dedication may be wonderful pieces to appreciate, but it’s the wear of a ring that shows the love and meaning of its wearer.
Posie/posey rings were tokens of love, given to wear with anonymous sentiments of heartfelt dedication that were personal between two people only. Many of the rings that were worn were often done on a daily basis and, if they survived, given in wills to future family members as tokens of remembrance.
This fede ring is inscribed with ‘If it be give me thine hand’, which is a personal statement of betrothal between two people, but here it becomes the design itself. The ring, as it was worn, shows the sentiment break through to the aesthetic and allows other people to view to love token, beyond the simple wearing of an anonymous band.
In Italian, known as ‘mani in fede’, or ‘hands in trust’, fede rings show a wonderful sentimental connection between two lovers. These ‘faith’ rings are known to be in existence since Roman times (and possibly Greek), but are known for their popular use in Ireland as the Claddagh design (with heart and crown), also seen in the Fenian Claddagh without the crown.
Having these styles become popular as an evolution of the poesy ring relate to the 18th century and its views on personal/ecclesiastic relationships. The 17th century saw a large swing against traditional thought, with the English Civil War, the Restoration and its affirmation of the Anglican Church – a greater influence was put back onto the Monarchy, shifting away from the judgement by a deity and now the immediacy of a single leader. This affects the religious value of the relationship and its status under god. When the relationship wasn’t a requirement for the propagation of family or the protection of a value system in a society, it becomes a personal thing and one that could now be shown in terms of personal affection between two people quite prominently.
From a value standpoint, this ring is important to feature as it does show the love between two people in a strata of society that wasn’t expected to wear sentiments of love. This ring was worn heavily and shows elements of economic hardship, rather than simply a display piece of higher society which could wear sentimental jewels for the aesthetic quality.