Knowledge Centre > Jewellery History > History

A Token of Love!

Medieval gold fede betrothal ring hatton garden
Medieval gold fede betrothal ring, circa 13th century.
Ref: 27496

As Saint Valentine's Day approaches, a day to celebrate your adoration for that special someone, you may be searching for the perfect gift to express your love. Here at Berganza, we are privileged to have a vast collection of pieces that demonstrate how love has been expressed in jewellery design throughout the centuries!

Rings have been gifted or exchanged between loved ones as a symbol of affection and commitment for many years. For example, the ‘fede’ motif, meaning ‘faith’ in Italian, has represented the joining of hands of the couple at a marriage ceremony since the ancient times. This motif is one of the earliest and most enduring of motifs used in jewellery, symbolising the union of two people.

It has been speculated over the centuries to how these fascinating betrothal rings were worn. However, according to the writer Aulus Gellius (c.123-c.165 AD), a fede betrothal ring was worn on the third finger of the left hand because a vein flowed from here, directly to the heart!

Fede rings eventually evolved into the well-known ‘Claddagh’ ring from the Georgian period onwards, featuring two hands holding a crowned heart.

In our collection we are also privileged to have a remarkable selection of posy rings. Posy rings are a fascinating example of how affection was expressed through jewellery. Popular during the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries in England and France, they each contain a sentimental inscribed motto or poem to the inner or outer surface of the ring.

These fascinating rings were traditionally used as a lover's token, a wedding ring, in friendship, for loyalty, or even as memorial rings! With romantic inscriptions such as ‘my love to thee endless be’, posy rings are a remarkable and sentimental gesture this Valentine’s day.

If you desire a piece with a little added sparkle, eternity rings are a wonderful option to express your devotion. As a later example of romance in ring design, eternity rings symbolise eternal love, with diamonds or coloured gemstones being set around the full circumference of the band! Extremely popular from the early 20th century, these versatile designs with a romantic concept make for the perfect Valentine’s gift.

Visit our Hatton Garden showroom today where one of our specialists would be delighted to assist you in finding a special gift this Valentine's Day. Alternatively, we offer complimentary shipping with next day delivery, along with a gift wrapping service!

Berganza are excited to announce that for the first time we will be showcasing a selection of our fine jewels at the 20th Annual Palm Beach Show from February 16th-21st. Should you wish to view a piece please let us know and we will bring it to you! Of course, our Hatton Garden showroom will remain open throughout this time.

front view Medieval clasp hands betrothal ring berganza hatton garden
Medieval clasp hands betrothal ring, circa 14th-15th century.
Ref: 26349
Georgian turquoise and diamond fede ring
Extremely Rare, Georgian turquoise and diamond fede ring, circa 1750.
Ref: 27515
front view gold posy ring berganza hatton garden
Georgian gold posy ring 'I love in earnest', circa 18th century.
Ref: 20815
Late Medieval Engraved Posy Ring, 'For Good Love hatton garden
Late Medieval Engraved Posy Ring, 'For Good Love', Circa 15th Century.
Ref: 27883
front view Tiffany diamond eternity ring berganza hatton garden
Tiffany & Co. diamond eternity ring, circa 1970.
Ref: 26524
Sapphire and diamond eternity ring berganza hatton garden
Sapphire and diamond eternity ring, circa 1950.
Ref: 26756
Diamond full eternity ring, circa 1970 hatton garden
Diamond full eternity ring, circa 1970.
Ref: 27753
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Updated 29/05/2024 at 2:48PM

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