The First English Collector of Jewish Wedding Rings and their Dealers

For Margaret (Peg) Olin who has always had new and unique perspectives on Jewish art

Vivian B. Mann
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This essay discusses genuine medieval Jewish marriage rings, mostly dated to the fourteenth century, and then examines the rise in the collecting of Jewish marriage rings in the nineteenth century. As a result of the paucity of genuine medieval examples, forgers created rings that drew on characteristics of the early examples and on the decorative forms and techniques of other types of jewelry. Unscrupulous dealers then sold the forged marriage rings to collectors eager to complete their collections by including a Jewish example. The essay concludes with a consideration of possible motives for acquiring Jewish marriage rings.

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