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17th century engravedgoldposy ring, 'Constancy weth affection.' A rare ring, the exterior of the D-shape band intricately engraved with hearts, tri-lobed floral sprigs and daggers, the interior inscribed with in italic script 'Constancy weth affection', the 'W' is in the form of a crown, approximately 18.8mm in width, approximately 3.54g in weight. Tested yellow gold, maker's mark 'R', circa 1700.
See British Museum object number 1961,1202.421 for a posy with a similar maker's mark. It attributed to an unnamed 'Goldsmith R', thought to be active circa 1682-1697. The crown in heraldic terms is in the style of a 'Crown of Nobility'.
To date, there is no recorded example of this posy known, making this piece completely matchless. See Evans, J., 'English Posies and Posy Rings', 1931, for the fullest catalogue of posy mottos recorded.
Accompanied by documentation stating that this piece was found at Brighstone, Isle of Wight in May 2018; reference IOW-807F5B under the portable antiquities scheme disclaimed as Treasure under the Treasure Act, reference 2018 T417.
Examples of early betrothal rings or ‘love’ rings encompass rings displaying the fede motif (featuring clasped hands) which is symbolic of the marriage ceremony; this was first thought up in the ancient world and saw a renewed interest in the medieval period. Tudor early diamond set betrothal rings are rarely seen, exquisite in design and would have been reserved solely for the highest members of society. The cut of diamond set in these early ‘solitaire’ designs is very different to later fashions- the table cut is the earliest of cuts, and was achieved by grinding off the uppermost point of the octahedral diamond crystal.
Posy rings- a ring with a short inscription, were the popular ring of the 16th-18th centuries in England and France, and a few rare examples can be seen as early as the 14th century. These rings derived their name from the French word for poem, describing the motto on the inside or exterior of the ring. Rings such as these were often used as lover’s tokens, betrothal or wedding rings and are the forerunners of modern wedding bands. The rarest posy rings have ornate engraved exteriors, often with floral decoration, and sometimes also are inlaid with enamel.
Berganza has amassed one of the largest collections of these unusual rings in the world. Today these special and rare rings are highly sought after and very collectible.