Maybe you wore the same school ring as your graduating class in college or high school. Or you and a friend or lover wore a ring that symbolize how two halves make a whole (like wearing a half heart, for instance.) But collective ring wearing is still a rarity.
Unless you’re from Latvia. Then the same ring is ubiquitous to its entire small population. A whole country wears the same kind of ring…now that’s some serious solidarity.
The ring that mostly all Latvians wear?
The Nameja Gredzens
The Nameja gredzens or Ring of Namejs [NAH-mays] consists of:
Three separate bands of silver twisted around each other and forming a braid
A thread-like chain wrapping them together, making them one
Four separate elements that come together in a single shape
And while the overall design is the same, no two rings are exactly alike. Each one is handcrafted.
The Nameja Gredzens are old!
This style of ring has been excavated from sites along the Daugava River dating back to the thirteenth century. These rings were simple yet contained the same components as ones designed today. Each ring is still forged by hand, braiding three bands of silver (traditional) or gold and then wrapping them with a chain.
are worn with pride!
The Nameja gredzens are give to a man as rite-of-passage (from boyhood to manhood, for example). Women also wear the braid of Namejs in the shape of rings, necklaces, bracelets or brooches.
The Nameja Gredzens are symbolic.
The three bands on this style ring represent Vidzeme, Kurzeme, and Latgale, the three ancient tribal regions of present-day Latvia.