What is A Signet Ring?

It can be said that the signet ring has witnessed the growth history of human jewelry. It is a very classic ring type in the jewelry market. Whether it is a retro style or a modern popular style, it is still active in today’s jewelry market. It is usually used as a men’s ring. However, some women also appreciate this style of ring. This article explains what a signet ring is and its rich history.

Learn About Signet Rings

The word “signet” comes from the Latin “signum”, which means symbol, mark, logo. Signet rings have raised or engraved symbols, mostly family crests and initials. These symbols were used as signatures, to show family status or to highlight one’s identity, and to seal documents by pressing rings into hot wax. This kind of beeswax seal with symbols can usually be seen on more ceremonial wedding invitations.

Signet Ring Historical Significance

The earliest known signet rings date back to the ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Minoan civilizations. They were used by rulers and officials to authenticate documents and property. Signet rings of that time were made of stone and later of gold and silver metals. Signet rings of that time featured intricate carvings and symbols such as images of gods and ancient monograms.
By ancient Greece and Rome, signet rings became more common and they were used not only by the elite but also by free citizens. Includes family crests, mythological figures and portraits of great men.
Signet rings were also used as personal signatures, and in Rome it was common for people to destroy signet rings after death to prevent forgery.
In the Middle Ages, signet rings were mainly used by nobles and clergy. At that time, they began to symbolize authority and were often used to seal letters and authenticate official documents. Its symbol of power is passed down from generation to generation as a family heirloom.
Later, during the Renaissance, the artistry of signet rings reached its pinnacle. Skilled jewelers began to create such rings, and the styles evolved with more complex designs. It was then that signet rings were added with gemstone settings.

Signet Ring Design and Craftsmanship

Design Elements

Engraved or raised pattern: The central feature of a signet ring is its pattern, which can be engraved into the metal (intaglio) or raised above the metal (relief). These patterns include initials, family LOGO, monograms, and symbols.
Surface shape: Most of the signet rings are circular or oval, although there are also quadrilateral patterns with surrounding decorations. Contemporary design has also given rise to some more abstract forms.
Metal selection: Signet rings are made of precious metals. Because of their heirloom properties, gold and platinum have become the first choices for signet ring materials, as they retain their value and are durable.
Gemstone inlay: Many modern signet rings have gemstone inlay styles. This style has been around since the Renaissance, which increases the diversity of appearance and the price of the item, and also makes it more in line with the beauty of accessories.
Ring style: simple and low-key, or more refined.

Process Technology

Engraving: The most critical and important aspect of signet ring craftsmanship is the engraving of the pattern, which requires skilled craftsmen to be able to accurately engrave complex designs on metal or gemstones. This technique is very common in China because there are many Seal engraver.
Customized: Customized signet rings are particularly special because they are custom-made to suit the individual, with some intricate designs that test the jeweler’s ability.

On Which Finger Should a Signet Ring be Worn?

Traditionally, the little finger of the left hand is used to wear signet rings. The little finger was thought to be convenient for pressing the ring into the wax to create a seal without getting in the way of the hand, so this tradition arose out of necessity. In Western countries, such as the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, signet rings are also worn on the little finger of the left hand.

Signet rings were traditionally worn by men, but are now worn by both men and women. Women can wear signet rings with any ring design they like.

How to Care for a Signet Ring

Clean the ring with mild soap and scrub gently with a soft toothbrush to remove dirt, especially from the engraved area. Chemicals in cleaners can damage metal. Always remove your signet ring before using such products.

Store signet rings in a separate compartment or soft bag in a jewelry box. This prevents it from scratching other pieces of jewelry. Keep the ring away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight, which may cause some metals or gemstones to deteriorate or discolor. Store in a dry environment. Too much humidity can cause metals to tarnish, especially silver. Remove your signet ring before swimming (chlorine and salt water can be harmful) and bathing.

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