Rings have endured fashions like no other item of jewellery. They have been continuously worn throughout history either as tokens of love, or to display political, professional, and social status. Rings can be traced back to the Ancient Sumerian civilization, which inhabited modern Iraq in 3000 BC. In Ancient and Biblical times, rings symbolised a transfer of power. Signet rings were used to authenticate documents during a time when literacy was low. The first known examples of wedding rings were fede rings, depicting two hands clasped in faith. Rings became an important part of marriage for both Christian and Jewish communities in the Medieval period. The fourth finger of the hand was chosen as the ideal spot for the wedding ring because the vein in that finger flows directly to the heart. Posey rings were another type of wedding ring, usually in the form of a simple gold band with a romantic message inscribed inside the band. Memento Mori rings, as reminders of the inevitability of death, became popular in the 15th century.
Throughout history, rings have had both a functional and a sentimental purpose. There is no other type of jewellery that is quite as romantic or long lasting as the ring: while other forms of jewellery such as necklaces, earrings, and bracelets fell in and out of fashion, rings were consistently worn by both men and women. A trip to the National Gallery will reveal that rings and rings alone are the only kind of jewellery seen in most portraits from various time periods.
Bentley & Skinner are pleased to offer a variety of exquisite rings. In addition to our collection of rings for special occasions, we have an exceptional collection of antique and engagement rings, particularly from the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
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