SIGNET RING JEWELRY: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SEAL RINGS
THE MEANING AND HISTORY OF SIGNET RING
Often considered the “gentleman's ring,” the signet ring has been around since the days of the Old Testament, when it was used as a personal signature or symbol of family heritage. Typically it bore a family crest or another symbol representing an individual on its distinguishable flat bezel. The word signer ring Originate from the Latin word “signum” meaning “sign”, signet rings originated amongst religious leaders and Pharaohs. These rings were used to mark and seal documents by pressing the face which were historically marked with a unique family crest, into hot wax.
The signet ring is a design that houses a raised, flat face on a shank, or ring, and is typically engraved with an image or icon meant to signify something memorable- like someone’s initials, a family crest, coat of arms, or a meaningful symbol. But signet rings weren’t always as casual as they are by today’s standards.
Signet rings as we know them have been popular for centuries, and date back to as far as 3500 BC, when the people of Mesopotamia wore cylindrical seals around their neck to authorize documents with their seal, usually in clay or wax. Later with the Egyptians this concept transformed into a ring for added security, and it’s purpose was used in the same manor. By the early Minoan period, signet rings were often carved from softer stone or bone, but by the end of this period were made from harder stones like onyx. With the Bronze Age came great discoveries in metalsmith and suddenly jewelry was made from metals that stood the test of time, like gold and silver.
During the Middle Ages and through the early 19th century, all jewelry, but especially signet rings, was often worn by royalty or influential members of society that held important roles in government. When the person died, the rings were often destroyed to prevent forgeries after death. Ornate designs, family crests, symbols, and initials were often carved into precious metals, and then set into the bezel were precious stones such as diamonds or rubies. The use of these materials signified status and the important roles these people played in society.
It was not until the Industrial Revolution in the later part of the 19th century when technology made jewelry production much easier and accessible, that the signet ring became popular among women. By this time signet rings didn’t hold as much legal status as they once did, but still were a sign of wealth and importance. Traditionally, a signet ring is worn on the small finger of the wearer’s non-dominant hand. Today signet rings are immensely popular and still hold special significance to the wearer.
The signet ring is not just a piece of jewelry, it’s an expression of individuality. A fashion statement or heirloom that has been passed down for generations! In fact, the signet ring has played a surprisingly significant role in history - to signify social status, family heritage, and identification all throughout ancient times which we’ll explore in this article.
WHAT IS A SIGNET RING’S MEANING TODAY?
Today, signet rings don’t necessarily have a purpose, but they play an important role in fashion and family lineage. In wealthy families, patriarchs pass signet rings to future generations, and some rings are over a hundred years old! Additionally, some families commission signet rings to create a priceless family heirloom they can pass on through generations.
Many high schools suggest students purchase class rings with their graduation year, school crest, or mascot on top. Students can customize them to include sports, clubs, or other activities they participated in during their time at the school. Some corporations also offer milestone rings for employees who have been with the company for a certain number of years.
SHAPES OF SIGNET RINGS
The bezel of a signet ring comes in various shapes and sizes. Here are some common styles wearers may encounter:
- Oxford Oval: Somewhere between an oval and a circle, this is the most traditional popular shape
- Round: A traditional circular shape that’s a bit more modern than the Oxford Oval
- Marquise: A diamond shape with rounded edges that is elegant but underused in signet rings
- Octagon: A more modern, angular spin on circular bezels
- Cushion: A square signet ring with rounded edges that was exceedingly popular in the Victorian era and is still a favorite today
- Oxford: A thicker, heavier version of the cushion shape
TYPES OF SIGNET RINGS
Gemstone Signet Rings
As previously discussed, many wearers choose to add gemstones to their custom signet ring. While any gemstone can be added, you may want to consider gems that have significance to you, such as your birthstone or that of a partner, parent, or child. That way, these gemstones become a personal expression of your love for family, friends, or whomever you choose to honor.
Monogram Signet Rings
Similar to initial rings, a monogram signet ring generally carries the first, middle, and last initial of the wearer. These designs also present the wearer’s initials out of order, with the last initial in the center for emphasis with the first initial on the left and middle initial on the right.
Initial Signet Rings
Signet rings may also include a wearer’s initials or those of someone important to them. If you have a family name, a signet ring with the initials that were passed on to you by a parent, grandparent, etc. may be a lovely tribute to that bond. Additionally, signet rings may also contain a single letter to represent the wearer’s first or last name.
Military Signet Rings
Individuals who served in the military may prefer a signet ring that reflects their service. Military signet rings may include branch logos, dates of service, or symbols that signify a particular group. Wearing your military affiliation is a source of pride and a remembrance of those lost.
WOMEN WEARING SIGNET RINGS
Signet rings are a staple of the jewelry world. Having long been associated with secret societies and historical figures, the signet ring is now a statement piece anyone can wear. But can women wear signet rings? Well, the short answer is yes of course, but here's why and how to wear them.
IS IT OKAY FOR WOMEN TO WEAR SIGNET RINGS?
Most people would consider signet rings to be purely male jewelry items because they were often used by men in authoritative capacities or in closed clubs that were only for men. But the history of signet rings shows that they could be used by anyone to tell people who they were or to sign legal documents. This would have been done by a signet ring owner or a servant but that doesn't mean that these were exclusively for men. One of the earliest examples of a signet ring discovered by archaeologists is the signet ring of adoratrice Ankhnesneferibre, daughter of Psamtek II and Egyptian Princess in the 6th Century AD. There are also examples in British History of women-owned signet rings, such as Mary Queen of Scots or Queen Henrietta Maria. With countless examples, it's clear that signet rings can be worn by any gender, but nowadays we wear them for style rather than signing documents.\
ARE SIGNET RINGS GREAT FOR STACKING?
It’s uniqueness makes it look great when stacked with other rings. As long as it sits comfortably on your hand and it's safe from scratching or sliding off your finger.
WHY SIGNET RINGS ARE THE BEST AS ADJUSTABLE RINGS
For several centuries, Signet rings have taken the world by storm since the late 18th century, and with their divergent nature, they take the "hard factor" out of ring shopping for good. All you need to do is choose a custom piece (or pieces) that you genuinely love and matches who you are, all while having the fullest assurance you will unequivocally never go wrong when it comes to size.
In summary, there is a reason why adjustable rings have and will always be highly sought out pieces – because they perfectly intertwine beauty and elegance with practicality at the same time. Overall, with just a small pitch or pull, you can wear one size fits all rings however and whenever desired. Then adding handmade rings into the mix, it all equates to a luxury ring-wearing experience that SATINSKI believes everyone deserves to have.