Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Jewish betrothal ring

17th or 19th century
Eastern European or Italian
Gold, enamel
7/8 x 1-3/4 in. (2.2 x 4.4 cm)
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
It is difficult to date and localize the large, ornamented rings that were created for use in synagogues during the wedding ritual. However, there is ample evidence that examples such as this one were exchanged during Italian Jewish weddings. The groom would place it on the bride's finger, but after the ceremony the ring would have been kept as a prized memento by either the family or the temple community. The gable roof—perhaps symbolizing the Temple of Jerusalem—opens to reveal the words "Good Luck."
Inscription: Inside hinged gold ornament: Hebrew letters for the words Mazel Tov (Good Luck)
Paul (until 1882; sale, Cologne, October 1882, no. 788) ; Baron Albert von Oppenheim (in 1904) ; [ M. J. Seligmann , in 1906; sold to Morgan ] ; J. Pierpont Morgan , London and New York (until 1917; to MMA)
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