One of the wonderful things about posy rings – also known as poesy rings – is that there are new developments on a regular basis!
Poesy rings were popularized by Shakespeare, though the custom of giving an inscribed ring to one’s friend or beloved originated in approximately the 13th C. Rings were exchanged with messages of love, of faith, or of friendship. Some historical posy rings had symbols of nature, including animals or flowers on them. But the most prevalent feature were the inscribed messages themselves.
The word poesy comes from the French ‘poésie’ meaning poem, and no matter how it is spelled – posy, poesy, or posie – the pronunciation is the same: it is pronounced like a small bouquet or ‘posy.’
Recently a newly discovered historical posy ring was found in a field in Northern Ireland. It was determined to be a valuable historical artifact, so it has been sent to the British Museum for valuation. This ring, like many others, was in period spelling, inscribed with the words: I noght on gift bot gifer. What do you suppose these words say? They have been translated to mean: Look on the giver, not the gift. Sage advice, even today.