It was the Romans who first exchanged rings specifically for matrimony, and the earliest known representation of the wedding ring is called the 'fede' ring.
Fede hand rings came into major prominence during the 19th century. Victorian fede hands, also known as clasped hands, were a popular motif in Victorian jewelry and art. The term "fede" comes from the Italian word for "faith," and these hands were often used as a symbol of love, loyalty, and fidelity.
Victorian artists and painters had a particular interest in the delicacy and gentle poses of hands, and considered them to be a major part of a persons beauty.
Queen Victoria loved hand imagery so much that she commissioned an oil painting depicting her husband Alberts hand clasped in hers. This kind of art is typical of the 'love-token' painting of the period.
The clasped hands gesture depicted two hands, usually a male and a female, joined together, with the fingers intertwined or the hands holding a heart or a ring. The gesture represented the union of two souls, a pledge of love and devotion between partners. It was commonly exchanged as an engagement or wedding ring design, reflecting the commitment and trust between two people.
The fede hands symbolism extended beyond romantic relationships. It also represented friendship and loyalty. The intertwined fingers signified the strong bond between friends, emphasizing trust and support.
The Victorian era was characterized by its love for symbolism and sentimental expressions. Fede hands jewelry became a popular way to convey emotions and values in a visually striking manner. Even today, these clasped hands remain a timeless symbol of enduring love, friendship, and faithfulness.