A posy ring is a handmade band that is inscribed with a short, sentimental expression, or ‘posy’, derived from the French word for ‘poetry’. Rings of this type were often used as betrothal and wedding rings and are the precursors to the modern concept of wedding bands. These heart felt tokens were most popular in the 16-18th centuries and were given by both men and women, not just as expressions of love, but also given to friends and family members and were used to commemorate important occasions.
The dating of posy rings is largely based on the style of script, since most lack any other form of ornamentation. Around 1350 the style of lettering took the form of the rounded capitals, known as Lombardic script, this was followed by black letter script in the mid 14th century. The mid 16th century brought the change in script to Roman capitals, and finally italic script was generally used from circa 1650 to the 19th century. Some rare examples also have maker’s stamps which give us even more information about the piece
The language used on posy rings also changed over time. Early examples of posy rings dating to the 14th and 15th century, are most often in Latin or French, the two widely spoken languages of the time. The inscriptions were found on the exterior of the hoop, whilst later examples from the 17th century onward typically bear English inscriptions on the interior of the band. It was thought that wearing the words next to the skin enhanced their meaning and one can imagine the thrill of wearing a secret message hidden to all except oneself.
The rarest posy rings have ornate engraved exteriors, often with repeating floral and foliate decoration, and sometimes also are embellished with enamel. We have a very rare engraved and enamelled. Enamelled detail makes a posy ring even rarer as enamel is not durable and is easily liable to chipping over time.
Posy rings are a wonderful piece of the past view our current collection to find the perfect one for you