Length 24.90mm, width 21.19mm, weight 3.53 grams
The construction of the bezel is like that of a 14th century ring found during excavations in Winchester (Biddle 1990, fig 176, no. 2086) and the form of the hoop, with decoration on the shoulder, is similar to that of a 13th century ring from Hatfield Forest, Suffolk (1908 1202.1) and a 14th century ring from Wells, Somerset (F.1825), both in the collection of the British Museum.
The engraving is taken from ‘Ave Maria gracia plena’, the salutation given by the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary in the Gospel of Luke. The ring is a devotional jewel and was worn to invoke the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Furthermore, sapphires were believed to have prophylactic qualities throughout medieval Europe.
Similar inscriptions have been found on other medieval finger rings see treasure cases IOW-844608, SOM-2E9408 and in particular SF-C864C6. See also the 13th century finger ring in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, M.181-1975
Biddle, M., Objects and Economy in medieval Winchester. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1990)