in #design4 years ago (edited)


The theme of this post are friendship rings. The forms and symbolism of particular versions of this ring, its symbolic meaning in interpersonal relationships, and its function in nonverbal communication are researched. Throughout this work, the appearance of the ring was discussed from the first appearance of the symbol "folded hands" until the modern version and use of the ring in the Irish village of Claddagh, by which the Irish version of the ring was named "Claddagh" [Claddagh-Irish design (as on the ring) of two hands holding a crowned heart symbolizing friendship, loyalty and love, Claddagh, a former village across the Corrib River from the town of Galway, Ireland] rings. The seminar paper also explores more closely the differences between the ring versions under the names “fede” [Ita. Fede-According to the Italian “Mane in Fede” which means hands in faith], “poesy” [Lat. Poetry], “gimmal” [Lat. Gemellus twin; associated mechanization]. Differences in appearance and symbols of the above versions were also researched and described. The aim of this post is to classify the various forms that are meant by the term friendship ring.


Franks (1912) refers to Dryden in his Catalogue of the Finger Ring, early Christian, Byzantine, Teutonic, Mediaeval and later . By quoting Dryden he gives us an insight into the classification of "gimmal" rings and presents it more closely to us.
He uses his work to bring gimmal rings closer to us .
Through his work, Kunz (1917) used catalogues from the early 20th century and information obtained through discussions with university professors from around the world. In his book Rings for the Finger, from the Earliest Known Times to the Present , with Full Descriptions of the Origin, Early Making, Materials, the Archaeology, History, for Affection, for Love, for Engagement, for Wedding, Commemorative, Mourning, etc. in describing the " gimmal" ring, he uses Camden's chronicles of 1616, which describe the time of Elizabeth's reign, he also uses the literary works of Shakespeare and, just like Franks, refers to the works of Dryden.
Dellamer (1996) in her article for the Irish Arts Review Yearbook entitled Claddagh ring using Haridman's 1820 book "History of Galway" and using historical and genealogical information on Galway goldsmiths from 1500 to 1900 reveals the questionable origins of popular Irish design jewels. The story of the Claddagh ring, which is made up of an ordinary hoop fastened with a hammer or a moulded frame shaped like two hands clamping a crown and a heart. She states that there are many folk legends and myths attached to the ring and that it is difficult to know where the legends end and the truth begins.
The Croatian Encyclopedia of the Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography, in its online edition from an article taken from the Croatian Family Lexicon (2005) , defines a ring (Proto-Germanic " herringas " (somewhat curved, circle) as a metal ring worn on a finger or toe. sometimes hung from the nostril barrier, known as jewelry in the oldest metal cultures (Egyptian tombs) 1 .
Scarisbrick (2007), as a historian in collaboration with the Victor & Albert Museum and the Beazley Archives in Oxford , is using their archives in her book Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty, presents magnificent ring reproductions from many countries. This book presents rings through the main themes: rings associated with love, marriage and friendship; pious, protective, and ecclesiastical rings; memento mori and memorial rings; rings associated with famous people and big events; decorative rings; diamond rings; and rings as accessories.
Church (2011) uses the Priesthood Manual, written by Guillaume Durand in the 13th century, in his book Rings . Citing the manual gives us an insight into poesy rings. He also distinguishes between rings with religious motives, especially saints, each of whom was a protégé of a particular aspect of life. He also adds that in the Middle Ages, the diamond was considered unbreakable and the diamond ring was worn on a ring whose vein comes directly from the heart (a theory taken from Roman authors, which is proven to be true today).
Graff (2016) for National Jeweler magazine, in it's online edition , features an article called The History Behind… Posy rings , created with the help of archives from the Victoria & Albert Museum , which describes the history of the posie ring. The article describes the inscriptions on the rings and describes the reason for wearing the posie rings and the differences in their appearance throughout the Middle Ages 2
Pollio (2018) in his book Ancient Rings: An Illustrated Collector's Guide uses ring collections from around the world. He uses museum collections and numismatic collections and manuals.


Friendship rings in different parts of Europe have taken on a different shape and variations in the meanings that come with it. This section explores the differences in incidence between " fede ", " gimmal " or " gimmel ", " posy " or " poesy " and " Claddagh " rings .

According to Pollio (2018) “Dextrarum iunctio” [Lat. Dextarum iunctio — The joining of the right hands] was a term derived from the Greek “dexiousis” [Greek. Dexiousis-Greetings], and signifies the symbolic '' joining of the right hands '' (Pollio: 2018: 76). Joining hands symbolizes the virtues of faith, loyalty, trust, friendship and agreement. The physical act of joining the right hands was also the moment when the couple got married. This Roman ring most often featured the design of folded arms on the ring head, which often served as seals (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Roman gold Fede ring 2nd or 3rd century, The British Museum 1

In the same survey, Pollio also cites "Fede" (Figure 2) rings whose name derives from the Italian "Mani in Fade" from the medieval period, and in design they resemble "dextarum iunctio". It was not until the 15th and 18th centuries that the symbol became a popular motif on the engagement ring (Pollio: 2018: 76).

Figure 2. Fede ring, 15th century, England, V ictoria & A lbert Museum , London 2

During this period, the so-called "Gimmal" rings were becoming popular. This is the name of a derivative of the Latin word "gemelli", meaning "twins". According to Kunz (1917), two rings are connected by an axle, so that when united, that is, when stylized arm figures are joined, they form a single ring, and again they can easily be separated. Occasionally, three or more rings are combined in the same way, and the same name is also used for them (Kunz: 1917: 218). Scarisbrick (2007) describes a rare variation that, instead of the motif of folded arms, conceals in its interior the figures of a child and a skeleton that represent another connotation with a ring - the circle of life (Scarisbrick: 2007: 72), (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Renaissance Gimmel ring with Momento Mori, 1631. Germany, The Met Museum3

At the end of the 18th century, gimmel rings became more complex, with five parts or more. The rings were decorated with a hand motif, but at the end of the 18th century lover knots appeared, sometimes completed with enamel. Other embedded motifs were turtledoves, a pair of intertwined hearts, ivy, hubs or butterflies. In England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. "gimmel" rings were called "joint rings" [Eng. Joint rings]. Referring to the chronicle "Annales rerum Anglicanum et Hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha", Kunz (1917) states that the queen shared a "gimmal" ring on which two diamonds forming a heart shape merged with Mary of Scotland (Francofurti, 1616, according to Kunz, 1917). : 183-184). In an article in National Jeweler Magazine, Graff (2016) 3 states that the "posey" rings were more popular in the second half of the Middle Ages. In medieval times, when religion was a very important part of daily life, it was customary for figures of saints or religious texts to appear on the rings with romantic expressions or even expressions of friendship. In this way, the rings acted both as a religious talisman and as a gift of love. Rings from the early medieval period generally have words engraved on the outside of the ring, while in later examples the letters are on the inside. The terms were written in Latin, Old French or Old English. By about 1350 the letter was engraved with rounded capital letters known as Lombardic (Figure 4), while in later examples Gothic letter was used (Figure 5).

Figure 4. This engraved gold "poesy" ring dates from 1300 and is inscribed in Lombardic + WEL: WERE: HIM: YAT: WISTE * TO: WHOM: HE: MIGTE: TRIESTE. The translation is, "Well for him who knows whom he can trust." Victoria & Albert mueum, London 4

Figure 5.This "poesy" ring dates from the 17th century, made in the UK or France. Animals and plants are incised on the outside of the ring, and traces of white enamel on the rabbit (front and center) suggest that the ring was once brightly colored. The inscription on the inside reads "LOYALTE NO PEUR", which means "loyalty, not fear." Victoria & Albert Museum, London 5

Dellamer (1996) 4 Claddagh ring is referred to as the traditional Irish version of the "fede" ring. The motif is recognizable by holding the heart with two hands, which usually has a crown, though not always. It got its present form in the 17th century and remained popular. Modern versions of the "Claddagh" ring have a "gimmel" collapsible shape. Claddagh has taken on the characteristics of both of these rings and has become a symbol for Irish culture as well as a traditional symbol for love, engagement and marriage. This Irish version is one of the most recognizable pieces of jewelry in the world. The heart represents love, the two hands holding it represent friendship, and the crown denotes loyalty and faithfulness. Ireland is a well-known Catholic country, so the ring also symbolizes the Holy Trinity for believers: the left hand represents Jesus, the right Holy Spirit, and the crown is God. It is named after the fishing village of Claddagh near the town of Galway in the Republic of Ireland, where the Corrib River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Although there are different stories about its origin, it is almost certain that it originated in or around Claddagh. The "Claddagh" ring is a traditional wedding ring in Ireland since the 17th century, and according to Irish tradition, the mother passes it on to her eldest daughter. Many foreigners of Irish roots wear it as a symbol of Irish identity. There are three basic ways to wear this ring, depending on your love status: singles wear the ring on their right hand, with their hearts turned outwards. Those in the relationship wear a ring on their right hand, with their heart turned toward them. The wedding people wear a ring on their left hand, with their heart turned towards them.


Throughout this work, differences and similarities are defined for certain types of friendship rings, and it is clear why the terms "fede", "gimmal" and "Claddagh" are inadvertently mixed in layman's terms. "Fede" is a ring that contains only the symbol of folded hands in faith. A "gimmal" or "gimmel" is a ring consisting of several parts that are joined together to form a single ring. ''Claddagh'' is recognizable for its combination of these features. "Fede" and "poesy" rings are also often replaced because in both cases the rings can be engraved with text inside the ring itself. Throughout this work, changes in the shape of individual rings over time have been highlighted, especially after the 15th century, because the ring then also became a fashion accessory.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this. All the images and text I don't own have a number with a link attached to it. Also every author and book page is mentioned at the end of an assertion.
Spreading the love,
Emma Stephanie