The ring in the Middle Ages - a long history
The ring made of iron, bronze, silver or even gold is one of the oldest pieces of jewellery ever. People were already making rings more than 20,000 years ago. But they tended to use bone and ivory for this purpose, because metalworking did not begin until much later. In the Middle Ages, the ring had mainly symbolic significance, like so many components of the garment. Find exactly the ring that suits you in our online shop. It should express your personality and fit your role.
The meaning of rings
The ring stood for the status or wealth of the wearer. The ring signalled solidarity or affiliation. Often the ring also served as a store of value or as a means of payment. The Templars and other knightly orders recognised themselves by the ring. The lord and the lower nobility in the Middle Ages used the ring to affix their seal and to seal documents. All cultures knew the ring as a piece of jewellery. In the Bronze Age, spiral rings were first made of thinly hammered bronze, later even of gold wire. The Romans and Greeks made rings of silver, gold, bronze and iron that were as artistic as they were precious. In the early Middle Ages, it took a few hundred years for fine blacksmiths and goldsmiths to learn some of this art again. Rings from the early Middle Ages of the seventh and eighth centuries seem rather clumsy and primitive to us today. Nevertheless, they had a huge significance. A lot of effort was made for the highest dignitaries or leaders. Thus rings were made with pictorial representations from religion or with the faces of the kings.
A signet ring of the Merovingian king Childerich from the fifth century has been found that was decorated with his face. But the true prince was probably not very similar to his image on the ring.
The jewellery and rings of the Celts
The rings of the Celts had not only symbolic but also magical significance. Such a Celtic ring could protect its wearers from danger and disease. But it could also give them strength and courage. The Celts in the Middle Ages were great friends of symbolic ornamentation. Practically every line and notch on the ring had a special meaning. However, only the experts - the druids - could unravel this. With their belief in animate nature, the knotted ring was widely used by the Celts as a sign of solidarity. The Celts had been making artistically valuable rings of bronze, iron, silver and gold since the Iron Age. Unlike the Germanic peoples, their culture and artistic talent did not suffer as much from the decline of the Roman Empire. If a person was considered important enough to receive grave goods, at least one ring made of bronze or silver was always included. Thus rings are found in many graves from that period. The Claddagh is a famous Celtic ring made of silver and is considered a legendary piece of jewellery. It dates from the 17th century and is therefore not really a medieval ring.
But it is legendary with a long and glorious history. It was made by a Celt who had been abducted by Arabs. To this day, the ring stands for unbreakable loyalty. Therefore, it is very popular as a friendship or engagement ring. Traditionally, it is passed on from mother to daughter.
The ring of the Vikings
The Vikings also sometimes wore a ring, which they had made of gold and silver. Often, however, the ring was captured, because the Vikings' fine forging skills were not very advanced. So in northern Europe they usually stuck to the spiral ring or the braided ring. The Vikings preferred the likewise spiral-shaped arm rings and neck rings, which were much easier to make. So for the Vikings and their culture, the ring played a subordinate role. If a Viking owned more than one ring, he certainly did not wear this jewellery on his finger, but kept it at home in his chest as a store of value. Early in the Middle Ages, people began to inlay rings. Of course, a ring with an inlaid garnet stone or other semi-precious stones was not affordable for the ordinary person. Silver was already expensive, gold, on the other hand, was invaluable. So most people continued to wear the ring made of affordable bronze. Of course, the ring was very important for the church. Hardly any other ring was as large, heavy, valuable and durable as the ring of the bishop, cardinal or even the pope. This ring had to withstand a lot of devoted kisses every day.
The art of the silver and goldsmith
Rings have evolved through the ages and according to fashion. In the Middle Ages of the 10th century, under the Carolingians, the ring gained more and more weight - literally. A large and weighty ring promised glory. The upper half of the ring was hammered into a plate, which was then elaborately decorated with ornaments. In the four following centuries, the art of blacksmithing took off with gold, silver and bronze. This was due not least to the influence of the Arabs. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, i.e. in the late Middle Ages, the art of silver and goldsmithing then flourished. A ring made of gold with a stone or a seal from this period is practically indistinguishable in its craftsmanship and daintiness from a ring of today. What has also remained the same is the great significance given to a ring. Protection, power, health, love and loyalty. Just think of the wedding ring, that one ring to bind them all. The Ring of the Nibelungs, the Ring of Polycrates, the Lord of the Rings, the famous poison ring with the thorn - our entire culture has been shaped by the ring to this day.
Whether silver, bronze or even gold, the ring is affordable for almost everyone today. But the ring made of bronze can cause allergies in some people and is no longer so common. Silver is the material of choice for many people. Pure silver in 925 quality is durable and does not cost as much. Silver can also be beautifully worked and is used for many types of jewellery.
Ring, fantasy and medieval LARP are inextricably linked
At the latest with the Ringwraiths of the Nazgul, it is impossible to imagine fantasy without the ring. Magic rings, poisoned rings, royal rings and of course fairy rings play a major role at many fantasy events. For medieval LARP, the ring is a crucial symbol that marks and describes its wearer. An elaborate suit of armour or a high-collared robe often does not leave much room for jewellery. Therefore, rings made of silver and bronze are very popular during a LARP event.
Discreet or eye-catching - rings complete the robe in every design. Those who love LARP know the importance of prestige. A large and beautiful ring adds weight to the appearance and makes it more impressive and authentic. This applies to every LARP, whether medieval, fantasy or gothic - a well-chosen ring simply makes an impression.
A finger ring with that special something
Whether Viking, warrior or elf - there is a ring to suit everyone. Would you like a wide Celtic ring that radiates power and strength with its runes? Or would you prefer a delicate silver ring with a rose that makes the wearer look like a fairy? There is a ring for every person that will attract attention at an event as well as in everyday life. Rings have always been a popular way to show one's wealth. Whether a ring made of silver with a stone or a braided ring made of bronze - at LARP the ring can show how wealthy the character is. A rich knight or a poor mercenary wears a signet ring of silver or a hammered ring of bronze. It is easy to tell from the jewellery which background the character is supposed to embody. The ring should be of high quality, whether it is made of bronze or silver. But we take care of that in our online shop. Whichever ring you choose: It will be a high-quality piece that will adorn and decorate you.
A ring for the lady or a ring for the gentleman
You can wear the ring as a pendant over your garment or on your finger. The main thing is that the others can see it. Choose a ring made of silver like the "Celtic Dog". Or choose a ring made of bronze like the Pentagram Ring. This should depend entirely on your taste or role. A ring like "Dragon's Claw" made of bronze or silver can be suitable for the lady as well as for the gentleman. Rings are different from gender-typical clothing.
Today, a woman can wear a heavy ring just as well as a man a more delicate one. As always, it depends on the attitude with which you wear the ring. Take a look around our online shop. When you have found something you like, put it in the shopping basket. Because a ring is always good value for money, whether it's made of silver or bronze. If you want more information about a piece, just contact us. In the online shop of LARP-Fashion.co.uk you are welcome with your questions.