Signet rings have remained a staple of the fashion world for years, but have seen even more of a revival in recent years. Just what exactly is the secret to their timelessness? They’ve been worn by all types of people, throughout all sorts of trends and yet there is something classic and understated about the signet ring that keeps it popular, even as everything else changes.
One of the key appeals of signet rings is just how easy they are to customise to suit each particular individual. Whilst the basics never change – the chunky cut with a circle/square section in the centre – beyond that they’re quite flexible. One of the first things that can be varied is the base metal. Commonly cast in gold, they can be done in most metals. From sterling silver to rose gold, it’s easy to pick something that matches both your wardrobe and your skin tone. Whilst some people might consider the gold ones somewhat brashy, the option to have a more subtle colour as the base makes it easy to avoid this. Once you’ve considered the base metal, it’s time to look at the design that you want.
Traditionally, signet rings have held crests – a family or university crest being the most common. Occasionally, you would find a monogram rather than a crest. Either way, it was something linked to a family name or an institution. This carries on today, but it is no longer the only option available. Other popular designs include images of saints, or old gods. Today, it’s easy to get almost anything inscribed on them – from small geometric patterns to a simple stone inlay. Choosing a stone inlay opens up your options even more – whether you go for a plain black onyx square, or small dotted diamonds in the shape of a constellation, it’s all up to you.
Signet rings also make for great conversational pieces. Unlike many pieces of jewelry, the potential history and customised nature of them means that they can easily provide topics of conversation – whether for the wearer or the person talking to them!
This customisable nature of the signet ring makes it easy to make meaningful. Whether it’s taking the traditional route of the family crest, or something more personal, the ability to make each ring unique and special to the owner is definitely part of the lasting appeal. Even some of the apparently popular trends have meanings attached – for instance, you may often see the symbol of St Christopher. St Christopher is the patron saint of travel, so it’s often bought as a gift for people about to head away from home.
Just like anything personal, the design you choose doesn’t have to seem like much to anyone else. This allows for more subtle options than say, a locket – it’s easy to go for something that you know matters to you, without it being something that will draw the unwanted attention of those that might be curious.
Another aspect of signet rings is their tendency to become keepsakes. Often, a signet ring with a family crest will have been passed down from father to son for many generations, meaning it’s not just a personal piece of jewelry but part of a heritage. This tendency leads to them remaining popular, as they go beyond just a simple piece of statement jewelry and become imbued with the weight of history.
Historically, signet rings were worn by gentlemen – they had a practical use, not just an aesthetic one. Used to seal letters and contracts, they were the sign of someone with wealth, a good family and a strong name. Whilst today anyone can have a signet ring, they still carry this air of class with them, and part of their continued popularity comes down to this.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons the signet ring has remained popular, and it’s a safe bet that it’ll remain popular for years to come. No longer are the realms of the wealthy gentlemen, signet rings something that everyone can find a variety that’ll suit them – regardless of gender or style. Whether you wear it on your little finger, your index or another, and whether the design is classic or modern, there’s something for everyone.
By Alfred Stallion and MyFamilySilver.com!