POSY RING “GOD’S PROVIDENCE IS OUR INHERITANCE”
England, 18th century
Weight 8.2 gr.; circumference: 60.38 mm.; US size 9.25; UK size S ½
In England the tradition of wearing a plain gold ring as a visible pledge of matrimony dates back to the late medieval period and continued well into the eighteenth century. Queen Mary I in 1554 and later in 1840 Queen Victoria chose to be wedded with a plain gold band. Popular, however, were the so-called “posy” rings, their name deriving from the term poésie or poetry, due to the engraved mottoes or inscriptions, either in prose or verse. These messages were often concealed inside the hoop and only known to the wearer and the giver. The exchange of rings between lovers often preceded the wedding ceremony as a symbol of consent of marriage to be contracted either inside or outside of a church setting. Inscriptions evoking religious sentiment suggest the ring was given to the bride in the Church as a sign of the sacredness of marriage. The plain gold band with D-section has on the interior the engraved inscription in italic lettering “God’s providence is our inheritance.” Near the hallmark is a file mark, possibly from testing the gold. The ring shows traces of wear and is in good condition. Except for the letter ‘F’ at the beginning of the maker’s mark, the cartouche-shaped hallmark has become undecipherable through general wear.