This gold ring was found by archaeologists during the excavation of site of the Rose Theatre on London’s Bankside in 1989, some 400 years after it was lost.
Shakespeare’s plays were performed at the Rose during his lifetime. The Museum of London estimates that the ring was made in 1592 and might be French in origin. The Rose was torn down in around 1606.
The owner of this ring will never be known, but I think it’s safe to say that it was a gift.
It is engraved with the French inscription 'PENCES POVR MOYE DV'. The letters ‘DV’ stand for the Latin ‘Deo Volente’ and the inscription translates as ‘Think of me God willing’. It’s unlikely you’d give yourself a ring with that inscription.
It also features a heart with two arrows through it, symbolic of lovesickness. I'm beginning to think that the giver was extremely romantic verging on desperate.
I wonder how it came to be lost. Perhaps it was thrown away in a fit of pique by a wronged lover or maybe a nervous audience member fiddled with the ring throughout a performance and it fell off their lap and through the wooden slats. I wonder if it's owner was a woman or a man.
The engraving seems crudely done, the inscription has been punched with such force that there are holes in the ring. It makes me feel like it’s the kind of thing a young lover would give.
You can buy a replica of the ring here.