Dating to c.1420-1440, this is easily one of the MOST important rings which I have had the pleasure to offer in my 13 years as a Platinum-level Ruby Lane shop owner, and is one of two 22k gold medieval gold posy rings which I will be offering this week! As most serious collectors know, posy rings are among the "Holy Grails" of jewelry collecting, and finding one as early and as exquisite as this example is like finding a needle in the proverbial haystack! Most extant posy rings date to the late 17th-early 18th century, but I am thrilled to offer this example, which dates to the first half of the 15th century!
Unlike posy rings of later centuries, medieval examples are usually flat or only slightly curved (rather than curved in profile), and the inscriptions are written in late medieval French or in Latin rather than English. The inscriptions are engraved on the outside, rather than the inside of the hoop. The inscriptions transitioned from the Lombardic font to Blackletter script in the last quarter of the 14th century, during the age of Chaucer, and King Edward III. Most of these earliest of posy rings are in private collections, or in museums (Dame Joan Evans bequested her extensive collection of over 400 to the British Museum). For every 1000 posy rings one might have the good fortune to handle, only a handful from this period have survived the melting pot, and these are only rarely available on the open market! I have been fortunate enough to collect two of these examples over the past 15 years, and I am thrilled to present them for the first time for the consideration of my Ruby Lane clients!
Wrought from 22k yellow gold and measuring 4.42 mm wide, this ring is the sort of discovery which sets collectors' hearts a-flutter, and it is in museum-quality condition after nearly 600 years (gold unmarked but tested)! As with most late medieval posy rings, the inscription is hand-cut in the Blackletter script fashionable from c.1390-1500. The inscription reads "Un Bon An," ("A Good New Year"), and was almost certainly given to a lady of wealth and nobility as New Year's gift. (During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was customary to give gifts for the New Year rather than at Christmas, which was not considered a gift-giving holiday until the 19th-century.) Today, this historic ring is suitable for wear by a lady or a gentleman!
Between the inscribed words are stamped York roses in chevron-shaped borders; both the letters and flowers would have originally been inlaid with enamel, but after over 500 years of burial, as is the case with the majority of extant medieval rings, the enamel is now absent. The inscription and roses are still readable, however, and this is the only loss that this ring has sustained since the era of The Hundred Year's Wars! This ring is just a hair under a size 5 3/4, and should NOT be re-sized, as much of it's value lies in it's untouched, all-original condition.
This ring was excavated in Northern England in the 1970s, and I acquired this ring from an English collector for my personal collection in 1999. It has not been cleaned, and boasts a gorgeous, matte burial patina. Amazingly, the ring is not damaged in any way; it is still "in the round" after six centuries, and is just as wearable today as when it was first commissioned by a person of extreme wealth and likely noble family in the early 15th century! However, it should be worn gently, and treated with the great care which a ring of this history and importance deserves. This ring weighs 2.46 grams.
Simply a phenomenally rare and highly-wearable posy ring, this beautiful example of medieval gold work represents a fine investment opportunity for the serious collector. If you cherish the ULTIMATE in historic jewelry, this ring will make a wonderful and wearable addition to your collection! It would also make the ultimate gift for anyone fascinated by medieval French or English history, and will be shipped in a gift box. As with all of my jewelry pre-dating 1700, authenticity is 100% guaranteed, and this ring will be sold with a COA and valuation for your insurance policy at no extra charge. Do not miss this beautiful survival; up to six-month layaway is available, and USPS registered mail shipping is FREE!
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