This is a very rare medieval gold posy ring, inscribed outside the band in Lombardic script set with niello enamel (traces remain)
"+AMORIE:ENT:VIVAS:EST:MA:VIE:AVE:MARIA" for "TO LIVE IN LOVE IS MY LIFE HAIL MARY". It appears some of the letterings have been hidden by their absence (I have highlighted these in red) This spells out ORTIA TARIA or retains a hidden message? The style of lettering in the Lombardic script gives us a date of 1180 - 1320 AD. Posy rings, the name deriving from poesy ('poetry'), are rings with inscriptions that express affection, friendship and love. Rhyming or cryptic inscriptions were fashionable from around 1200-1500, and were written in Latin but more commonly in French, the language of courtly love. Both these languages were spoken and understood fairly widely by the elite in medieval Europe. A comparable gold posy ring has been recorded from East Riding of York YORYM-0A0FD2
This is a perfect example of an early Posy ring, especially one written in Latin with a hidden meaning!
OBJECT: Posy Ring
DATE: c. 1250 - 1300 AD
MATERIAL: Gold & Niello
RING SIZE: 7 (US) O (UK)
SIZE: 19.1mm x 2.2mm
PROVENANCE: Formerly in a private collection Gloucestershire, ex. B. Cavill collection.
Please fill in the information below