It has long been a dream of mine to design jewellery. I have some ideas which seem far-flung at the moment but sometimes I find myself dreaming away. I absolutely adore my career at the moment, and the beautiful pieces of art that surround me have given me much inspiration. Maybe I will start designing soon, you’ll be the first to know!
The unthinkable happened to my friend getting married next year. On Friday evening as I was dining, I noticed I had two missed phone calls from her but no message. No response when I called back. And at 1am again, I received another call and this time I picked up. Tears. Her engagement ring, a beautiful Tiffany solitaire had been stolen from her home - my first question- ‘Was the ring insured?’ … Silence. Whatever the value of the ring … you MUST insure it, anything worth a substantial amount of money needs to be looked after. If you have a ring on your finger now and no insurance, please start looking into it, because bad things happen to even the nicest of people.
Ok … so in case you didn’t know, the engagement ring hype (as I like to call it) was a very clever marketing ploy by De Beers in the early 20th century to increase their diamond market share and introduce the concept into other cultures e.g. Japan. But … what about our ancestors? Did they materialize the emotion of love and physically denote it with a gift? I remember learning that the Romans gave betrothal rings, wearing them on the same finger because they believe that the vein and from it lead directly to the heart … awww, very romantic but could quite possibly be another marketing ploy … who knows?
In more recent times, a gimmal ring, or gimmel ring, a ring with two or three hoops or links that fit together to form one complete ring was in fashion especially in England and Germany. The name from the Latin gemellus, twin, via Old French.
In the 16th and 17th centuries these were often used as betrothal rings. The engaged couple would wear one hoop each and rejoin them to use as a wedding ring. With triple link rings, a third person could witness the couple’s vows and hold the third part of the ring until the marriage.
An early gimmal band, consisting of two interlocked rings sculpted to form a single ring is to be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum dated to 1350. Henry III of England met the Count of Gynes in 1202 and gave him a gimmal ring set with a ruby and two emeralds.