Early Engagement Ring
One of the early engagement rings. The earliest ring in Ireland was found in Northern Ireland by Mr. Tom Ross. The Ring was found in a field that had been plowed in Newtonabbey, County Antrim. Mr. Ross, 69 found the Engagement ring while using his metal detector. Metal detecting has been a hobby of his for the past four years but many have spent years upon years searching but to no avail. Mr. Ross only learned of the value of the ring when displaying the piece to some other metal detector enthusiasts in England. Mr. Ross was advised to pass it on to the museum of Northern Ireland. He duly did and the museum then concluded that the engagement ring was, in fact, a posy ring and dated it back to around the late 1600s.
About The Early Engagement Ring
The delicate ring is 85% gold which would be slightly higher in gold content than 18 karat gold used today in most engagement rings. Later at a Belfast Coroners court, Mr. Ross told an inquest that he initially thought the ring to be a “worthless trinket” or “a bit of rubbish”. The gold ring bears an inscription in old English “I noght on gift bot gifer” which is today’s English and translates to “Look not on the gift, but the giver”. Which is a nice sentiment. The ring turned out to be a piece of rare Irish heritage.
Elise Taylor is the curator of applied art at National Museums Northern Ireland. She told the court about the history of such rings and the various traditions of the time. Sometimes involving inscriptions etc. Ms. T.aylor explained, the ring is a betrothal ring and men and women exchanged them from the 1500s onward. It was to symbolize their future commitment to each other much like the engagement rings and wedding rings exchanged today. The rings are called posy rings. This name derived from the French word for a poem which is Poesy.
Speculation On The Loss Of The Early Engagement Ring
So how did the ring come to be in the ground in the field? Well, speculation is that the field is next to an old church and graveyard whereby people used to cross the field to get to it. As any jeweler will tell you finger sizes will shrink or expand depending on the weather. On a cold morning, the fingers of the wearer may have shrunk allowing the ring to slip off. The coroner’s court declared the ring to be an official treasure. This means that the treasure will be handed over for valuation by the British Museum. Well done Mr. Ross and thank you for your honesty and for sharing your find with the world.
At Loyes Diamonds we offer free ring sizing on any engagement ring purchased. For those of you making a surprise proposal, we advise you.