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Renaissance 22 ct Poesy Ring "Seal Up Secrets"

Renaissance 22 ct Poesy Ring "Seal Up Secrets"

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Directory: Estate Jewelry: Gold: Pre Victorian: Pre 1700: Item # 1490119
Moylan-Smelkinson/The Spare Room
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P.O. Box 4684
Baltimore, Maryland 21212
tel. 410-435-3738

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Our poesy ring (spelled posy, posie, or posey) has the deep color of a 22carat ring along with a textured pattern and an interesting inscription "Seale up Secrets" that is both biblical and romantic in substance. The term "seale up secrets" with its Gothic spelling of seale, refers to the biblical phrase "seal up". In the Bible, the phrase "seal up" is often used to refer to something being kept secure until a specific time. The phrase in essence means secrets (between the wearer and the giver of the ring are closed off (from outsiders) for life. A starkly romantic notion, indeed. Posey rings were popular in France and England between the 1400's and 1700's and were often given as gifts between lovers. Religious messages and messages of love and fidelity were engraved on the inside of poesy rings. The name derives from the French word “poésie”. The poem refers to the concise and often morally imbued sayings engraved on the inside band (so the message was seen only by the couple. It was also thought the poignancy of the message was greater when set against the wearer's skin). The expressions incorporated such literary devices as rhyme, alliteration and pictorograms or a combination of the three. That fact that historically certain inscriptions appear on multiple rings indicates that the early goldsmiths maintained published collections in their libraries from which their customers could custom choose. An early form of custom ordering, as even in these early days couples wanted to own something that was unique. Posies from this period are often 22 carat because the gold standard in England between the years 1575 and 1798 was 22 carat (indicated in most guides to English silver hallmarks). If a poesy ring tests as 18, it is probably a later posey (or, rarely, earlier than 1575 however in that case the inscription might not be in English at all). All early posey rings have the characteristic hand engraving which is easily distinguishable from machine engraving to even the unpracticed observer. Our ring is a size 3.