There are two types of puzzle rings, the first dating back to the Romans, where the social elite had rings with secret compartments to conceal their money. Similar in design to a puzzle box but on a smaller scale, you need to find the trick catch to open the secret compartment. The second is a series of rings that are entwined and require a series of steps to separate. We see these throughout Turkish and Celtic histories used for the promise of love, or to symbolise a union of souls and for other more sinister reasons. Let’s take a quick look at their evolution and history.
There are many theories, references and myths around the symbolism and evolution of puzzle rings, some theorise that puzzle rings may have appeared back in Egyptian times, where rings were often shared between married couples. Other believe that in Roman days puzzle rings were around in early 200BC where money and riches were stored in secret compartments.
Some believe the puzzle rings stem from the ring based engagement puzzles developed in Asia circa 200BC where rings were joined together, and the owner had to work out how to separate them. These were not jewellery styled rings but may have evolved over time to become worn by their owners.
Turkish puzzle rings or harem rings were said to have been created for men to give to their wives to ensure their fidelity whilst the husband was away from the home. Their design included several rings that were intertwined (and the solution to the puzzle only given to the man) making it almost impossible for the wife, without the solution, to put them back together, the infidelity would then be easily discovered by the husband.
Gimmel rings stem from the Latin word for twin gemellus were popular in the 16th century in Europe and were rings that were made up of two or three connected rings, often made from different coloured gold, such as the well-known Russian wedding ring.
Other variations of the gimmel ring were used as part of the wedding/engagement process as a promise ring. The rings were unlocked, and one given to each of the couple upon engagement and brought back together during the wedding ceremony to symbolise the union of love and marriage.
Finally, another belief is that puzzle rings were designed to be given to the groom, so that the night before the wedding he had some thing to distract him from his nerves and keep his hands busy. The popularity of puzzle rings remains today where many use them as family heirlooms, gifts, engagement and weddings and all forms of declarations of love.
For those who want to hone their puzzle solving skills, we offer a couple of versions of puzzle rings made and sold as puzzles. Alternatively, for those who are looking for a jewellery based version many specialised store can custom build and design one for you. Perhaps a puzzle ring would make a nice gift for the one you love.