Dec 2017 19

Sardinian engagement rings: precious marriage tokens with a magical past

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Sardinian engagement rings are more than mere pieces of jewellery: they are the quintessential representation of Sardinia’s most ancient and heartfelt traditions, and that’s why they have become one of the most yearned-for marriage tokens in Italy.

Commercial worth aside, Sardinian engagement rings have an incredibly high symbolic value: crafted in silver or gold filigree and often embellished with local stones and coral, they were usually passed down from mother to daughter during important life events such as the birth of the first baby.

Sardinian engagement rings: a fascinating history

The history and meaning of Sardinian engagement bands are deeply connected with the island’s mythology. According to one of the most famous legends surrounding Sardinian jewellery-making, the island used to be populated by fairies called Janas, who lived in pre-nuragic stone chambers known as Domus de Janas, where they spent their time weaving gold and silver threads into fabric, which was then adorned with precious stones.

Before a man could propose, he was expected to ask the Janas for help and protection, who would then weave a special band that had to be placed on the girl’s ring finger. The choice of finger is not a casual one: according to tradition, that’s where the vena amoris is, a vein that from the hand goes straight to the heart.

The small joint spheres that make up Sardinian engagement rings represent corn grains, a symbol of prosperity and indissoluble bond not only between bride and groom, but also between the soon-to-be-wed couple and their native land.

Since ancient times, therefore, traditional jewellery in Sardinia has been perceived as the missing link connecting men to the divinities, and that’s why pieces such as filigree engagement bands have always been worn during the most important occasions.