Post Medieval Sergeant-at-Law ring 'Long Live the King and the Law'. A wide yellow gold ring, engraved to the exterior '+VIVAT*REX*ET*LEX' translated from Latin as 'Long live the King and the Law', decorated with carved linear borders, floral motifs and incised dots, approximately 8mm in width. Tested yellow gold, approximately 4.0g in weight, circa 17th century, accompanied by an Oxford Labs X-ray fluorescence report stating the composition of the metal.
See British Museum acquisition number 1973,0703.1 for a ring bearing a similar phrase.
Dating back as early as 14th century the term Sergeant-at-Law or simply Sergeant was used to describe lawyers or law makers. It is thought that the concept of Sergeants descended from Norman Conteurs which were in place before any laws were officially formed. By the 16th century they were recognised as an exclusive group of lawyers which dealt primarily with cases in the central Common Law Courts. Often rings were presented to newly appointed Sergeants or presented by a Sergeant to various officials, clerics or friends. Each would bear a motto chosen by the Sergeant engraved to the exterior of the ring. This practice was popular from the 15th to the 19th centuries.