This is a rare medieval posy ring, dating to the latter 14th century. The ring is inscribed on the outer band in a Lombardic script, the background may have been filled with black niello (to contrast the raised inscription). The inside of the band bears a full gold gilding, in excellent condition and original to the ring.
The inscription is very interesting, it will read: "LOIALTES x PASE x TOUT" this motto Loiaute passe tout is found on plate and ornaments in the inventories of Louis d'Anjou and Louis de Valois, duc de Touraine (see Evans, 1931. English Posies and Posy Rings, pg. 4). The inscription reads as "Loyalty passes everything" but is written in medieval French, the wording is slightly out but the sentiment is not.
Such a ring may have been presented by Louis to one of his faithful knights, rewarded for valor and loyalty. Very few other nobles would have used the same motto during this period, the use of Lombardic script only confirms the early date of the 14th century, a time of upheaval and the Hundred Years War with the English.
The ring is solid, stable and perfectly wearable!
OBJECT: POSY RING
CULTURE: Medieval French
DATE: c. 1350 - 1400
RING SIZE: 8 3/4 (US) R 1/4 (UK)
SIZE: 21mm x 20mm x 3.7mm
WEIGHT: 1.96 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private European Collection, France.
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