Two views of a gimmel ring, one of three connected hoops and the second of the joined ring
Gimmel ring

The three gold wavy and twisted hoops of this artifact found in 2007 fit together to form a finger ring called a gimmel ring. One hoop of the ring bears a tiny heart, suggesting that it was worn as a token of love. Gimmel rings, also called joint rings, were commonly used in 16th and 17th century England to signify a betrothal or marriage. They were most often made of just two interlocking hoops, but some had three parts like the Jamestown ring, as indicated by Robert Herrick’s 1648 poem “The Jimmall Ring or True Love-Knot”:

Thou sent’st to me a true love-knot, but I
Returned a ring of jimmals to imply
Thy love had one knot, mine a triple tie.

Finger rings were popular dress accessories at the time of Jamestown’s settlement. It was not uncommon for men and women to wear several rings at once on fingers and thumbs. Only the middle fingers were spared. Rings were often given as mementos, and when they didn’t fit the finger they were worn on strings or wire around necks, ears, sleeves, and hats.

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