Dating to c.1530-1550, I discovered this incredible posy ring during my last buying trip to the UK, and I am thrilled to present it for the first time to my Ruby Lane clientele!
Measuring 6.5 mm wide and 2 mm thick, this sturdy silver gilt posy ring is about as rare as they come! Wrought from sterling-grade silver fired with high-karat gold, this historically important love jewel is thrilling to behold, and also represents a fabulous investment opportunity for the advanced collector! This jewel would have been commissioned as a wedding ring for a well-to-do Tudor lady, and the memento mori-style inscription gives us a precious glimpse into the Tudor world of love, life, and religion!
This English ring is very typical of the posy rings crafted from c.1510-1560; it is slightly convex when viewed from the cross-section, and displays deep, hand-engraved "egg and dart" decoration to the top and bottom of the band, which is a very Tudor motif. As with most posy rings pre-dating 1580, the motto is engraved on the outside rather than the inside of the shank in capital Roman letters. (For comparative reference, there is a nearly identically-designed and inscribed silver gilt posy ring listed as dating to c.1550, see The British Museum online catalogue #AF.1383.)
The posy reads, "DYE TO LYVE," and is also decorated with an engraved sprig (symbolizing fertility) and a cross (symbolizing the wedding vow). This may seem a rather morbid sentiment to our 21st-century sensibility, but in the Tudor period, the concept of "living and dying well" was deeply woven into marriage. In an age when early mortality was always a risk and a concern, this posy reminds the bride to live each day as if preparing for her Heavenly reward. (The expanded motto, "Dye to Lyve and Lyve to Dye Etarnally" is featured at the bottom in the last photo, which depicts the Judd marriage portrait of 1560.)
This magnificent ring has made it through the past 475 years in outstanding, 100% original and intact condition. It is in superbly-preserved, excavated condition, it is completely "in the round." Minuscule traces of black enamel are still visible when one examines the letters of the posy under 10x magnification. Originally, this ring would have looked exactly like high-karat gold, but, as one would expect in a ring of this antiquity, careful wear and handling have mellowed the gilding over the centuries. SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!
This ring is just a hair over a size 7, and is suitable for gentle wear by a 21st-century lady or gentleman. Due to it's significant history, this ring should NOT be cleaned or re-sized. Weighing in at 3.79 grams, this ring is suitable for careful wear today; the inside of the shank feels like silk! It also looks lovely worn on a silver chain or a black velvet ribbon around the neck; Tudor and Stuart rings were often worn in this fashion. This is the sort of jewel I would love to keep for my own collection, but one cannot keep it all and pay the bills, so let my loss be your gain!
If you collect the ULTIMATE in pre-Georgian jewelry, this investment-worthy ring from the age of Queen Elizabeth is certain to become a treasured addition to your collection! It would also make a thrilling gift for any lady or gentleman fond of Tudor history or posy rings, and will be shipped in a gift box. As with all of my jewelry pre-dating 1700, this ring will be sold with a COA and valuation for your insurance purposes. Do not miss this amazing rarity; up to 120-day layaway is available, and USPS Priority mail shipping is FREE!
Your Specialists in Fine Jewelry and Decorative Arts from Antiquity - 1900. Est. 1987.
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