This is a nice Jacobean silver-gilt posy ring, dating to the late 16th to the early 17th century. the band is inscribed in Roman capitals "LET LOVE INCREAS". The style of lettering gives us a date of late Tudor - early Stuart era. Oman (1974, pg 41) suggests that italic inscriptions generally replaced those of Roman capitals in the second quarter of the 17th century but are often found on Tudor examples from the 1550's - 1625. See KENT-8BED3B for discussion of the type. Inside the band is a mark of a castle turret, either used as a makers mark or more likely indicative of being tested for silver at the Exeter assay office.
The practice of giving rings engraved with mottoes at betrothals or weddings was common in England from the sixteenth century and continued until the late eighteenth century. Posy rings could, however, be given on many other occasions as a token of friendship or loyalty. Posy rings could also contain religious and memorial inscriptions. The inscription is generally found on the interior of the ring, hidden to everyone except the wearer and most of the sentimental mottoes were taken from the popular literature of the time.
The inside of the band is quite worn but the marks are on the surface and are not splits, cracks or damage. The ring is a solid example in good wearable condition (with care).
OBJECT: Posy Ring
CULTURE: Tudor / Jacobean
DATE: c. 1550 - 1625
RING SIZE: 11 (US) V 1/2 (UK)
SIZE: 23mm x 5mm
WEIGHT: 3.39 grams
PROVENANCE: Private collection Essex.
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