This is a nice Jacobean gold gilded posy ring, dating to the late 16th to early 17th century. the band is inscribed in Roman capitals "DEALE TRVLY". 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.
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.
This rare inscription is recorded by Dame Joan Evans as appearing on a bronze ring in her father's collection (pg. 30). In this instance, the sentiment "Deal Truly" would relate to matters of the heart.
The ring has survived intact with some of the gold gilding remaining on the inside of the band, the lettering appears to have been inlaid with niello or black enamel.
OBJECT: Posy Ring
CULTURE: Tudor / Jacobean
DATE: c. 1550 - 1625
MATERIAL: Bronze gold gilded
RING SIZE: 7 1/2 (US) P (UK)
SIZE: 21mm x 5mm
WEIGHT: 2.68 grams
PROVENANCE: Private collection Norwich.
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