What is a Signet ring?
Signet rings are usually distinguished by the engraved or raised symbol, letter, numbers or image it shows. They also vary in shape and size with common types being round, oval, square, cushion, shield or even heart shaped. They can be made with most if not all metal types but are most commonly Gold or Silver. Signet rings have been both a practical fashion item and a sign of identity for thousands of years. Here are five interesting Signet ring facts you may not have known.
1. Signet rings originated from authenticity seals.
Signet rings can be dated back to around 3500 BC. Although the actual term and ring itself was not used or worn as it is today, records show that people of Mesopotamia used cylindrical seals, hand engraved to show a mark of authenticity. Fast forward less than 500 years later, the ancient Egyptians had transformed the tools into a ring and wore them as a sign of their position in power.
2. Royal Signet rings were destroyed when their owner died
Fast forward again, this time to the 14th century and history shows most royal’s, nobles and the upper class all wore signet rings and for the same purpose as the people of Mesopotamia, to seal documents as a sign of authenticity. Some Kings even declared that all official documents bust be signed with the King’s signet ring. Although these rings are considered important artifacts of history, almost all of them were destroyed when the owner died as they were unique and it avoided any forgery.
3. Royals still wear Signet rings today
Gifted to him by his mother and Queen of England Elizabeth II, Prince Charles wears a gold signet ring on his left pinky that bears the Prince of Wales crest. This has been handed down by Royal generations for over 170 years and is engraved with a crown and feathers with the term “Iich dien”, German for I Serve.
4. Signet rings are no longer “men’s fashion”
Although Signet rings were typically only worn by men, this was due to the hierarchy of power in traditional times. Signet rings are actually a very gender neutral fashion item in modern society. From Princess Diana’s Signet ring gifted to her from Prince Charles to Kate Middleston’s family who started wearing Signet rings after the queen bestowed them with an official Coat of Arms. Class also no longer dictates who should wear Signet rings in todays world as they have become more affordable, fashionable and widely available to the general population.
5. You can trace your own family name, origins, crests and symbols
Many more people are opting for a Signet ring as a form of identity fashion, and they are becoming increasingly popular across the globe. If you are considering purchasing your own or as a gift, you can now track down your family names history or crest with a simple google.
Anthony Paul Jewellery can also help with a bespoke design and custom engraving with their range on signet rings online. Browse the full range here or get in touch to find out more.