Have you ever wondered what is a signet ring? Well, signet rings, also known as “gentleman’s rings”, have been a part of men’s jewellery for thousands of years. For wealthy and royalty men, a signet ring was a symbol of their power, prosperity and family heritage, which they proudly wore on their fingers of choice.
The main difference between the signet ring and other rings determines the engraved or raised symbol, image or letters present on the top half of the ring. Are you interested in the historical and today’s use of these rings? Do you want to know which finger to wear your ring on and what materials we use in crafting? Well, continue reading, and you’ll find out the answers.
The historical meaning of signet rings
The name of the signet ring comes from the Latin word “Signum”, meaning sign, which reveals its original meaning and use. Signet rings played an essential role in politics and business and were generally used to seal papers, letters and documents. Dipping the ring in wax or soft clay left a strong seal on the document. Back then, the symbol on the signet ring was considered even more official than a signature. It usually featured a family symbol or icon or a monogram. Also, it had marks that were used to identify the person or his close family.
On which finger should you wear your signet ring
That is probably one of the most frequent questions about the signet ring. However, no rules say that you have to wear your signet ring on one specific finger. But, there are many traditions in wearing them. For example, in Britain, this piece of jewellery is traditionally worn on the pinky of your left hand. Also, during Victorian times, many men wore their ring stacked up together with their wedding band on their left hand’s pinky.
Can women also wear signet rings?
Historically, signet rings were only worn by wealthy men for signature purposes. But, on today’s market, you can find vintage signet rings made for women! Today women don’t have to worry about the traditions and can own and wear their signet ring with pride. The recommendation of the finger on which you should wear it is the same for both genders – the pinky finger of the left hand is the most traditional option. However, women also don’t have to follow this idea strictly.
There is another recommendation that women should avoid the fourth finger of either hand. People nowadays save this finger for engagement and wedding rings. However, if your band is compatible with your engagement ring and you enjoy both of them together, stack them up!
Materials and styles of signet rings
Most of these precious rings found on today’s jewellery market are usually 10,14 or 18K Gold signet rings – yellow gold, white gold or even rose gold. A cheaper option, such as a sterling silver signet ring, is also available. On the other hand, palladium is ideal for those looking for more expensive material options. Signet rings usually come with a flat stone on the top half of the ring, engraved with various designs, symbols or letters.
The most popular stones and colours include black onyx, which creates a stunning black signet ring, blue lapis lazuli, carnelian or even bloodstone. Bloodstone is a dark green stone with red inclusions, and the carnelian holds a dark fiery red colour. A fashion icon is the diamond signet ring, which is today very popular among women, as it provides an elegant, timeless and luxurious look.
Traditional shapes of signet rings that have lasted throughout the ages are, for example, round, oval, square with rounded edges, cushion, rectangular, or even octagonal shape. The octagonal shape is a modern shape that is the least traditional. In contrast, a round shape is the most historical and elegant one. Cushion shape was a favourite in the Victorian era.
Celebrities who wear signet rings
Nowadays, signet rings don’t usually hold meaning in politics and society. However, they are often a fashion statement or a family heritage, passed from one generation to another. For example, you can see the British Royal family wearing an authentic, inherited signet ring – Prince Charles appears publicly with his Prince of Wales signet ring. Other famous wearers of signet rings include Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen, Michael Caine and Sir Winston Churchill.
Several fictional characters decorate themselves with signet rings. Those include James Bond or even The Green Lantern of DC Comics.
Now that you know what signet rings are, their meaning and how to wear them, it is up to you to decide if you need your own. Whether you’ll wear it as a fashion statement or as a family heritage, it is still a symbol of elegance and wealth.