Quite a monumental ring, isn’t it?
The Jewish Museum commissioned artist Rachel Feinstein to create this new piece of Judaica (defined as literary or historical materials relating to Judaism) for its collection. Inspired by two historical forms—medieval-style architectural Jewish marriage rings and tower-shaped ceremonial spice containers, both represented in the Jewish Museum’s collection—Feinstein, in collaboration with jewelry brand Ippolita, created the fantastical Marriage Ring.
This mini architectural wonder, which is almost a foot tall and was fabricated in sterling silver dipped in 18k gold, was co-created by Ippolita Rostagno, CEO and founder of IPPOLITA, the workshop that forged the piece. Feinstein and Rostagno are also collaborating on a series of four different editions of related rings that will be for sale at the Jewish Museum Shop later this year (more on that in a minute). The original “ring” will be on view in the museum’s collection exhibition Scenes from the Collection.
Claudia Gould, the Museum’s Helen Goldsmith Menschel director, approached Feinstein about the commission in 2019 during the museum’s presentation of the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. “Feinstein’s Jewish background and longstanding engagement with religious subjects—as well as her pointed interest in material culture—made her an ideal artist to engage for a Judaica commission,” reads a statement from the museum.
The ring draws inspiration from the historic “mazal tov ring” which dates back to the Middle Ages and often features architectural structures that depict houses or castles, synagogues, or the ancient temple in Jerusalem. Those rings also can symbolize the marital home, and Feinstein told Architectural Digest, “I wanted the piece to be a symbol of contemporary marriage, which is a complicated two-way street.”
The ring’s “princess exterior” sits on a four-fingered base—rather than a single band, which perhaps speaks to the complications of marriage.
The original ring isn’t for sale, but thoughtful riffs on it are: “Talia’s Ring,” a smaller version of the fantasy castle made for a single finger in 18k gold, will retail for $36,000; “Castle on the Rock,” a series of one-of-a kind rings in 18k gold with chrysoprase and malachite bases, will retail for $18,000; the “Fan Castle Ring,” a more minimalist 3-D variation of the design, will retail for $7,200 in 18k gold and for $500 in sterling silver.
All ring designs will be available for sale through the Jewish Museum’s Shop and online at shop.thejewishmuseum.org; and the IPPOLITA Madison Avenue flagship and IPPOLITA.com.
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