Beautifully crafted sterling silver earrings with authentic Medieval silver coins by California jeweler Erez Epshtein.
Denomination: AR Handelsheller Date: 12-13th century AD
Description: The obverse features the Hand of God design, while the reverse is graced by an ornate cross. Both designs are found in the town seal.
Handelshellers are a famous Medieval coin type from Swabian city of Hall, now in current day Germany.
The Hand of God design is one of God's protection that originated prior to the beginnings of Christianity. The term 'Hand of God" = 'Manus Dei' in Latin, and came to symbolize God Himself for Medieval Christian artists.
Germany didn't exist as a national entity in this epoch, but was a group of independent States. A coin that was common to this group was the silver penny or denar. Modern numismatists assigned the name 'bracteate', derived from the Latin 'bractea', a thin metal plate, as a way of describing the 'look' of these coins to collectors.
The design varied with time and State, but were limited to primarily either religious themes or religious architecture. This design is most closely related to the coins issued by Swabia from the Hall Mint. These coins were minted at the end of the 13th century (c.1296) and continued for many years. The coin eventually became know as 'Heller", that is, minted at the Hall Mint.
Note that the Black Death didn't appear in Europe until sometime after 1334 and this coinage predates that event. The hand motif represents the blessing, usually of the Bishop, and the cross represents Christ (In effect 'the blessings of Christ"). The use of hands either alone or as a Bishop raising his hands in blessing are common on these silver pennies.
The excessive sneezing of plague sufferers led Pope Gregory VII to coin the phrase 'God Bless You" as a Holy response when someone sneezes.