POSY RING, “THE GYFT OF A FRIND”
England, late 16th – 17th century
Weight 2.4 gr.; circumference 57.15; US size 8, UK size Q
Rings with love mottos and amatory inscriptions were known as “posy rings,” a term which derives from the term poetry or poésie. They were well established by the Tudor and Elizabethan periods, and feature in the plays of William Shakespeare, such as in Hamlet (III, 2, 162) “Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring” and in The Merchant of Venice. uring the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries posy rings enjoyed great popularity. These were customarily exchanged between friends, relatives, and lovers, and at betrothals and wedding ceremonies. In many instances the message was concealed inside the hoop and its content only known to the wearer and giver.
Gold band with D-section, engraved on the interior is the engraved inscription “THE GYFT OF A FRIND” in serifed capital letters. The ring shows significant traces of wear through its age and use, but it is in good wearable condition.