The Sexuality of Wedding Rings

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss
Major Work by 18th-century Sculptor Canova
Musse Du Louvre

Like Psyche revived by Cupid's kiss, Jewelry talks when words  fail us.  The sexuality of wedding rings is often hidden from view to those new to antique jewelry collecting, but once it's pointed out, you will wonder how you ever missed these subtle messages in metals and antique stones.

Tracing the Jewelry in History we gain further knowledge about Antique jewelry, 20th century  jewelry and Pearls and the  Hallmarks that appear on the Jewelry.  With the aid of a 10x Jewelers loupe, we  examine external features but may  overlook the rings most important quality, the actual meaning of the wedding ring itself.

The intimacy and  meanings connected with antique wedding rings may be found in both English and French.


Both in French and in English, the sexuality of wedding ring is obvious and unmistakable. Many of the same words serve to designate certain parts of the ring and of the human body.

We refer to the body (Fr: corps ), the head (Fr: tête ), the shoulders (Fr: épaules), the shank (Fr: pied), and the size (Fr: taille) and  recognize  sexual allusions among other French terms for parts of the ring (e.g., jonc , tige or "shaft," panier , chaton or "pussy," corbeille ).

The vocabulary of rings borrows from both male and female sexual parts. Certain English words common in ring terminology have, like their French counterparts, similarly have rather crude sexual connotations, e.g., box, head, shaft, etc.

Wherever we may be in the world, people are attracted by the outward form of the object, the antique ring setting, the old-cut diamonds or perhaps the  gemstone meaning in gemstone jewelry lore and in doing so  overlook the wedding rings main contractual purpose and the underlying implicit reference.  The sexuality of wedding rings is often sidelined.

The sexuality of wedding rings may embody  a subtle sexual reference and intimate expression of love between the owner of a wedding ring embedded into the actual betrothal ring itself.  And it's in these  expressions of endearment   attached to the antique wedding ring, that a seasoned antique jewelry collector  finds so especially appealing.

Just like the meaning of flowers in jewelry, the meaning of wedding rings, reveals a quality we cannot see or touch or even name precisely, but it exists, and nowhere does it  thrive more profusely than in the garden of  antique jewels that roar quality. 

Antique wedding rings are anything but antique! In the history of wedding rings, betrothal rings were always tied to the central idea of totality and completeness.

Different stories in literature from that of Gyges in Plato's Rebublic (Bk. II, 359) to Aladin in The Thousand and One Nights focus on the idea that the person who possesses a ring has "everything." The ring signifies a "totality."  In Herodotus (Bk. III, 40-43) the story of Polycrates who decides to give up what he values most, His Finger Ring, confirms this notion.

The fact that it is a ring that is offered or exchanged during engagement and marriage ceremonies,  in contracts that engage the body is significant, and confirms the idea that there is a correspondence between the wedding ring and the body.

For example, in a poem by Guillaume VI de Poitiers (1071-1127), the lover declares "she gives me a great gift, her love and her ring." The same comparison is used in an erotic fable, L'anneau d'Hans Carvel, by La Fontaine (1621-1695)

Here we see again that the sexuality of wedding rings and the correlation to jewelry is unmistakably in both English and French languages.

Another example of sexual expression is the familiar expression, the "family jewels" ( les bijoux de famille ) referring to the male genitalia. Similar metaphors exist in English; in Victorian times, information on pearls reveals that the word pearl was equated with clitoris. (cf. Content, The Pearl and the Dragon , 1999, p. 29).

In the current copy-paste digital renaissance Antique & Estate Jewelry which includes  Antique Wedding Rings are anything but Auld Lang Syne!


1. Dr. Reine Hadjadj
, Independent Scholar, France 
[translation by Sandra Hindman]


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