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Katie Luther Wedding Ring


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When Martin Luther proposed (was betrothed) to Katharina von Bora the ring he gave her was quite elaborate.  The components of this ring have been described somewhat differently by various sources. When we were in Germany, my husband John  bought me a replica of Katie's wedding ring at Wartburg Castle.  I treasure this beautiful ring which is worn on the index finger of my left hand as Katie wore hers in her wedding portrait painted by Lucas Cranach.  I'd like to share these various descriptions with you:

"The betrothal ring of Martin Luther with Catharine Von Bora, which is composed of an intricate device of gold work, set with a ruby, the emblem of exalted love.  The gold devices represent all the symbols of the "Passion."  In the center is the crucified Saviour; on one side the spear with which the side was pierced, and the rod of reeds; on the other is a branch of hyssop; beneath are the dice with which the soldiers cast lots for the garment without a seam, and below are the three nails.  The whole is arranged so as to make a large cross, surmounted by the ruby.  Inside the ring are the names of the bethrothed pair and the wedding day in German:  Der 13 Janij, 1525.  This ring was presented to the intended wife at the betrothal and worn by her after marriage."

The description which accompanied my ring was written, of course, in German.  Karl and Anneliese Metz translated the text for me:

"Wedding ring from Martin Luther:  a copy made after a description from the 16th century.  On June 13th (1525) Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther married at Wittenberg.  As a wedding ring they used possibly a ring like Katharina as a nun used as an engagement to Christ.  This wedding ring is made according to a description from an old Latin source.  It shows the crucifixion of Christ together with the torture tools.  These are a ladder, a lance, a whip, a scepter to mock the king's majesty, the rod with the vinegar sponge, a sword, a robe and a bow.  On the cross beam you see three burning hearts which display the misery of mother Mary.  The red stone in the middle - a karfunkel - is a sign of the blood of Christ.  All details are shown precisely in our original.  The stone is true Bohemian "garnet."  The size of the stone is authentic.  We guarantee this with our firm logo.  (--Kienast)"

[In the United States, replicas of Katie's wedding band can be purchased through James Avery Craftsman, Inc., Harper Road, P.O. Box 291367, Kerrville, TX  78029-1367.  They'd be happy to send you one of their catalogs if you call them at 1-800-283-1770.]