Even in the ranks of jewellery, the signet ring for men has always been a sign of wealth and social success, a literal form of bandage, noticed on the fingers of everyone from kings to bankers, popes to gangsters. So perhaps it’s no surprise that they are coming back into fashion now.
Where did they really come from?
In the old days, people sent letters. Handwritten letters, sent in the mail. Before some genius came up with the idea of self-adhesive envelopes, this correspondence was usually sealed with wax. And for that, they needed a tool to do it. The “rings” of jewellery created with a coat of arms on the reverse side were used to stamp and sign documents, and they date back to the 4th century BC in ancient Egypt.
Although the main objective is lost, the style is still popular and worn by men and women all over the world, but in a more modern way. There has been a resurgence in the sale of signet rings over the last three or four years. Beyond the falling price of gold and society’s obsession with royal or heraldic traditions, this is a cyclical generational phenomenon. Jewellers are currently faced with many sales to the descendants of former customers as their children reach adulthood and wish to invest in something traditional that represents their family ties, and the men’s signet ring is a very good example of this. Today’s jewellery designers create signet rings without initials or design, which are always intended to be a discreet token of prestige or pride for the wearer.
How do you make a signet ring?
If you are looking for a custom jeweler to create something more traditional for you, there are still many options. You can still find a large number of craftsmen who make very beautiful men’s signet rings as they used to do in the olden days. There are also many very informative websites that make it easy to create your custom design. But if you are ready to make a commitment to a designer, all you have to do is present the crest or symbol you want to engrave and determine with him or her whether you want an oval, round, cushion or square (Oxford) shape. You will also decide if you want the writing to be inverted – just in case you need to seal a papal missive with wax – and which metal you want to use. (Remember that gold can be very soft and smooth over time).