The gold ring set with an onyx cameo depicting clasped hands, below a marriage garland, above the Greek inscription 'OMONOIA', circa 3rd Century AD. weight 21.19 grams. Size J 1/2.
Particularly in Ancient Rome, the image of two people clasping each other by the right hand was commonly seen in artistic representation. Known as 'dextrarum iunctio' which roughly translates as 'giving (or joining) right hands', the scene was a flexible motif with several connotations.
In an act that continues to this day, a hand shake confirmed the agreement of a contract as well as serving as the opening or ending of an encounter.
The right hand being sacred to Fides, the god of fidelity, meant that a handclasp also signified harmony, affinity, friendship, and loyalty. As such, it was a popular symbol to commemorate the agreement of a marriage contract, as is the case with this ring.
Detailed in the garland above the clasped hands and the word 'harmony' in Greek written below, this betrothal ring is an early example of a fashion for such rings, more commonly known as a 'Fede' ring, that would also see a surge of favour during the 16th - 19th Centuries.