Jewish betrothal ring, ca. 17th–19th century
Venice or Eastern Europe
Gold, enamel; 7/8 x 1 3/4 in. (2.2 x 4.4 cm)
Inscribed: MEM and TAV, the Hebrew initials for Mazel Tov
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.996)
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."