Ancient Roman marriage fede ring. A gold ring centrally set with an oval cornelian plaque, finely carved with a stylised depiction of clasped hands in a closed back rubover setting, flanked by broad flat shoulders with decorative spherical granular design curving to a solid D-shape shank. Tested yellow gold, approximately 4.4g, circa 4th century AD.
The clasped hands, or fede motif (Italian for 'faith'), symbolises the marriage union as the joining of hands in a handshake and marks the consecration of the marriage ceremony. It is one of the earliest and most enduring of motifs used in jewellery, seen as far back as Ancient Roman times.
This ring has fine motifs with decorative details which make it a rare museum quality piece.