This ancient Byzantine wedding ring dates back to the 6th century. It’s an octagonal ring adorned with eight scenes depicting the life of Christ. The scene decorating the flat surface of the top of the ring depicts the Ascension.
During this period, jewelry like this was crafted to commemorate special occasions including betrothals or weddings and were inscribed with words. In this case, the translation of the inscription on this ring says, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts" (Isaiah 6:3).
Jewelry of this era which bore scenes of the life of Christ was thought to offer protective powers because these scenes were thought to combine to form a prayer in pictures. But this superstition carried over to other jewelry worn to protect from bad luck.
Other than this amulet-like function, during the Byzantine era, jewelry was worn for much the same reasons it’s worn today. It commemorated special occasions, it was a popular adornment, and a way to show the owner’s wealth. And the wearing of jewelry wasn’t limited to women – both men and children also wore it. Along with all this, it was also considered a form of “liquid wealth” because it could be melted down in times of need.
Byzantine Style Wedding Rings Today
Today, Byzantine style wedding rings “are an attractive choice as more people are attracted to the Medieval and Byzantine era – books and movies for instance based on this period are more popular than they used to be. Dan Brown and his mystery books, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones among many others create a greater group of fans” according to Culture Taste who designs and sells handcrafted Byzantine style rings along with other collections. “I basically think a romantic mood creates and strengthens this revival. This jewelry is mainly for those who want something more than the mainstream wedding jewelry, something different – with history, mystery and mysticism.”
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