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.
Gold posy ring, ‘If Grace unite love will be right’, circa 18th century.
Gold posy ring. A yellow gold half round band, the interior engraved ‘If Grace unite love will be right’. Tested yellow gold, approximately 6.05 grams in weight, indistinct maker's mark, circa 18th century.