A signet ring is a new yet old-school trend in jewelry. Signet rings have been around for centuries but have only recently made their mark on women jewelry. If you want to feel royal (cue the song) then start your hunt on this jewelry piece with the help of our ring buying guide. Read on to find out all you need to know about signet rings.

The History of Signet Rings

A signet ring is one of the oldest examples of personalized jewelry and also of practical jewelry. More than just jewelry, the ring functioned as a seal. Signet rings are also called seal rings. The seal on the ring had unique markings so that the wearer could sign official documents with it, like a stamped letter.

In the old days, these rings were reserved for noblemen and other notable figures of high society. Their exclusivity plus the use of precious metals and stones is what made signet rings very valuable. Families would often pass the ring on to the next generation as a family heirloom. However, some families chose to destroy the signet ring upon the passing of the owner because it identified a single person instead of the family. Having the ring still in circulation after the owner passed could then also create legal risks.

Proof of signet rings is found as far back as in ancient Egypt and the Roman empire. We like to believe that Cleopatra rocked one too. Their importance lasted throughout the ages. By the British Victorian period, the mark of a signet ring was even a legal requirement for making documents official.

The wearer would wear the ring on the pinky finger of the non-writing hand. This is the easiest positioning for quick sealing. Since signet rings are more a fashion statement than anything else now, wearers don’t limit themselves to just the pinky finger.

The Markings on the Signet Ring

A signet ring identifies the wearer. Noble families would usually have their coat of arms engraved on the ring. This is the kind of signet ring that several members of the British royal family are wearing now. Lady Diana wore the ring long before the rest of us caught on.

Other examples of markings on a seal ring are the wearer’s initials, the company or club logo or a monogram. Nowadays, the markings on a signet ring are not limited to any regulations. They are no longer reserved for sealing official documents and have been transitioned into fashion jewelry.

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Nowadays the marking can be anything from carved stone to laser engraving to enamel. The marking also doesn’t have to be a family crest anymore. Signet rings are a great way to personalize your jewelry, even if you don’t have a fancy family crest. Choose a symbol that is meaningful to you or you can have the initials of your loved one engraved in the ring. You can even start your own family heirloom and create your own family crest. A little help from a designer is all you need.

How Should the Ring Be Shaped?

A signet ring is the alternative statement piece to the cocktail ring. Simply wearing the ring on the smallest finger already stands out. On top of that, signet rings tend to be chunkier because the surface area is needed for the markings.

A signet ring can come in different shapes so it is up to you to decide which fits best with your style. The classic shapes are a straight oval or a cushion shape. These are the shapes to choose when you want the ring to look traditional.

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Other more unusual and unique shapes are an octagon, circle, and Oxford. The octagon fits an eclectic and daring style. A round signet ring is the most feminine style and the oxford shape is perfect for the women that like to glam up.

Decide on which shape complements your style the best. If you are unsure about the shape, you can first try them out with fashion jewelry before having a jeweler customize the piece for you.

For the marking, also decide which method you think has the prettiest result. Enamel is a more modern choice but the truly modern signet ring goes beyond a seal. Jewelry designers are incorporating new elements into the design like decorative stones or extended shapes. These added elements emphasize that signet rings are a fashion statement now.

If rings are your favorite jewelry piece then a seal ring is a special edition to your jewelry collection. It a highly personal jewelry piece which also makes it a unique piece. No need to worry about being involuntary fashion twins when wearing a signet ring. Would you like more options for personalized jewelry? We’ve already published an article dedicated to personalized jewelry so keep reading.

Visit Ana Luisa online jewelry shop to view our exclusive signet rings collection.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.