GOTHIC BLACK LETTER RING WITH INSCRIPTION “NA”
England, 15th century
Weight 7.8 gr.; circumference 59.34 mm.; US size 9; UK size R ¾
The hoop of this black letter ring is composed of two semi-spherical bosses resembling molded hearts (six in total), fl at on the interior, that alternate with three pointed oval-shaped plaques, bearing the Gothic letters “na” (possibly nul aultre in French, meaning “none other”) against a hatched background; on one of the oval plaques the letters are inverted. Black letter rings are so named for the niello that usually fills the contours of the Gothic letters of the words, which spell out romantic, devotional, or magical phrases usually on the exterior of the bands. The letters ‘n’ and ‘a’ on this ring could signify the wearer’s initials, but more likely they abbreviate a motto such as “nul aultre” (none other), which is a common inscription of the era.