Rings 01.04.2013

“God forever bless us together” A White Enamel Posy Ring

18th Century Posy Ring White Enamel

White enamel is the symbol for virginity and purity, its context is predominantly used for the death of a child or unmarried woman, however, white enamel has been used for the living in its long history. This ring creates a fundamental establishment between the physical relationship and god, which had been a thought previously challenged, but reinstated under Lord Hardwicke’s Act in 1753, where a minister, rather than a justice of the peace, could perform the wedding ceremony. The nature of this ring as a betrothal becomes an interesting concept, as it differs from many of the posies which give more of a personal statement, towards the value of the relationship.

18th Century Posy Ring White Enamel

Coloured enamel rings and jewels were not singular to the 17th century and their interpretations, but were more often relegated to higher society and finer court jewels. One must look to how posie rings display a change in their construction for their sentiment and consider the nature of their origins. When a use of a material or a change in the basics of their structure and language are introduced, then the consideration of their usage for higher than usual levels of society are a consideration. Here, the white enamel, though not elaborate, is a use that was not factored in with earlier rings. For its time, there was a precedence for this in higher quality rings with more elaborate design in mourning, but this is a band made for love/betrothal.

Look underneath the band and we can see the etched writing, in a script which is quite precise within its confines. This would lead to the establishment of a good level of quality given towards the ring and not a piece which was provided for a low-society token of love. The elements of white enamel and the statement towards god put it at a latter date for posie rings when they were fashionable (c.15th-17th centuries). This would be for the reason that posies transcended many eras of English culture, rather than being held to a small period of time. Their usage as a personal sentiment of love was intrinsic towards the giver and the wearer of the rings. Using ‘god’ in the sentiment was personal and the use of white enamel was not a popular motif in sentimental jewels until the turn of the 18th century, hence its requirement from the person who gave it. Catalogue purchasing was not an option for societies which hadn’t the industry which could produce highly manufactured jewels, hence the giving of a sentimental token was a fundamental statement.

18th Century Posy Ring White Enamel

What we can take away from this ring is that the giver was close to the nature of a Christian paradigm and that the consideration of purity and virginity were part of the establishment of the relationship. By the early-mid 18th century, cross-continental politics were challenging earlier concepts and the Enlightenment had given this its ecclesiastical challenges. These elements, while overly persuasive, were not overwhelming towards social behaviour, yet remained an influence.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins
Country: England
Dedication: God forever bless us together.