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Posie rings (sometimes spelled "posy ", "posey" or "poesy rings") are finger rings with short inscriptions on their outer surfaces. More rarely the inscription is on the inner surface.

A posey ring or love ring, is a simple gold band engraved with a briefsentiment or poem on the outside. They were used as a lover's token, awedding ring, or simply as a means of showing regard or giving a gift.

Popular during the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries in England and France as lovers' gifts, the Ashmolean Museummarker in Oxfordmarker, Englandmarker has an outstanding collection. The Victoria and Albert museummarker in London also has a good collection bequeathed by Joan Evans, daughter of a famous 19th century collector. She compiled a list of more than 3000 posies for her book 'English Posies and Posy Rings' (oxford Press 1931, out of print)

The language used in many early posy rings was Norman French, withFrench, Latin and English used in later times. The posies wereoriginally written on the outside, moving to the hidden inside of thering in later (mid 16th Century onwards) times.

Here is a list of poesy phrases used in past centuries and the museums where the original rings can be found. These are accurate to the original spellings.

"never to change"British Museum16th or 17th century

"love is enough"Victoria & Albert Museum19th century

"hope is the life of love"British Museum16th or 17th century

"yours onli"British Museum16th or 17th century

"all I refuse and thee I chuse"Fitzwilliam Museum -University of Cambridge16th Century

"faithles to none yet faithful to one"British Museum16th to 17th century

"forget me not"National Museum of Ireland

"in thy brest my heart doth rest"British Museum16th or 17th century

"no joy comparedto hart's content"British Museum17th century

"many are the starrs I seebut in my eye no starr like thee"British Museum16th century

"dear love of minemy heart is thine"

"You and I will Lovers Dye"Wartski, London, 17th Century

External links

  • Posey rings in the Ashmolean:
  • Posy ring poems - tokens of love and promise:
  • Posy ring messages Wartski, London:

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