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Goldposy ring, 'A true friends gift'. A smoothly conforming yellow gold D-shape band, engraved to the interior in italic script 'A true friends gift', approximately 3.5mm in width. Tested yellow gold, markers mark 'CR' within a square punchmark, approximately 2.9g in weight, circa late 17th-early 18th century.
Accompanied by documentation from the Portable Antiquities Scheme stating that this ring was found whilst metal detecting in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire in 2018. It is recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme under reference NARC-F05087; and disclaimed under the Treasure Act, reference 2019-T371.
This posy motto was a stock favourite, with several different versions of the phrase being catalogued in 'English Posies and Posy Rings', Evans, J., 1931, p24. The inscription on this example is fairly common, (for another example see British Museum AF.1190 marked WG, possibly for William Gallant, fl. 1611-1647, or William Goble, fl.1636-1650). It is still in use on similar rings today. The arrangement of the letters however is indicative of the late 17th-early 18th century, particulary the use of the long 's' and the tails on the 'h' and 'y'.
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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.