Has your jewellery collection got the seal of approval? The noble signet ring has long been connected with royalty and nobility. Used with wax to seal wills and political documents, signet rings have even been used to seal doorways and tombs.
Yet, the signet ring’s history stretches back much further than most people might imagine, worn in both ancient Mesopotamia and Egyptian as far back as 1400 BC. Rather than precious metals, Ancient Egyptians made their signet rings from a blue pottery, known as ‘faience’ or hardstone. One side of the ring would be flat and engraved with hieroglyphic text and symbols. These signet rings were commonly worn by pharaohs and nobles and they denoted their role and class within society.
Signets In Seconds
Signets have not only looked good and acted as a status symbol, but they played an important role in society. Often engraved with a monogram, initials, family crest or a diagram, the face would leave a distinct impression when pressed into hot wax or even clay and create a seal.
Because of their use in this way, signets were also known as seal rings. They became popular because the seals they created were so hard to tamper with and so they offered a high level of protection to the document or missive. Signet rings were not only personalised with a family crest, but jewellers would also add distinctive marks that would set families within families apart from each other.
Through the Middle Ages, all nobility and high-class families wore signets; most often using them as a signature to documents. In the fourteenth century, King Edward II made it compulsory for all official government documents to have the stamp of the King’s Signet upon them. Monarchs would prohibit copies of their signets to circulate to help prevent forgery. For this reason, it was usual that signet rings were destroyed upon the death of the wearer – which makes authentic medieval signet rings very hard to come by in modern times.
The Renaissance era witnessed the growth of the merchant class and signets were adopted as a way of branding shipments and goods, meaning that signets became signs of wealth and success. In the Victorian Era, signets were a staple of a well-dressed man’s wardrobe and advances in technology resulted in greater personalization of the rings. The very best signet rings also featured a rotating bezel, so designs could be seen when worn either way.
With other ways of authentication adopted, signets have now become a family heirloom which are often passed from generation to generation for hundreds of years. Signets are also commissioned by families today, as they create an heirloom of their own. While women traditionally did not wear signets – not playing a significant role in business – signets are frequently worn by modern women, albeit with a slimmer design.
Signet rings have remained an integral part of any jewellery collection and, at Kimjoux, we’re no exception. Gracing the pinky fingers of some of our most beautiful royal brides, including Diana, Princess of Wales, Catherine Middleton and Meghan Markle, signet rings are the perfect showcase for your coat of arms.
At Kimjoux, we take a slightly different approach to signet rings. Both our Kore and Arque range offer you the change to pass your jewellery legacy down to the next generation. The signet has never gone truly out of fashion, but it is now in the ascendancy once again.
Strengthen Your Kore
What makes modern signet rings so appealing is that they are a fabulous way to set out your credentials. For women who are gifted a signet ring when they marry, Kimjoux’s sleek and stylish Kore range offers an opportunity to add to your day-to-day jewellery. However, as you might imagine and as with all things Kimjoux, there’s a rich and dynamic story behind our creation.
Named after the Greek goddess of Spring’s bounty, Kore, its octagonal shape is rich with symbolism of rebirth and renewal. Perfect for embarking on a new relationship or defining your own independent identity, our Kore signet ring can be customised in any way that you want, from engraving of a family crest of arms to precious stones inset.
Our Kore signet is also intrinsically linked to our own core; our centre. While signet rings have traditionally been a gift from man to woman, Kimjoux’s Kore makes the perfect gifting experience for any woman; from one to another, from mother to daughter or for yourself.
Kimjoux’s Arque collection returns to basics and focuses on smooth lines and structure. While the Arque is arguably inspired by the simplicity of ancient jewellery, it sets the scene for modern adaptation.
Simple and sleek, the Arque is beautifully crafted and designed and built to be stackable, which is utterly up to date style-wise. Effortlessly timeless, the simplistic design offers us a throwback to Viking or Anglo-Saxon design, when jewellery was as symbolic as it was practical.
The Arque is stunningly striped back and represents the best of streamlined design, but it can easily be customised to suit the wearer. Slenderer than the Kore, the Arque has a fabulous flat-band surface that can be customised with precious stones that speak volumes about the wearer.
Modern signet rings are as often bought by women for themselves as they are bought for women. With voices of our own, our Arque and Kore speak volumes for our wearers’.
Making the Signet Your Own
In order to understand how you can customise your signet, it’s important to understand the signet’s different elements. Known as the ‘shank’ or band is the ring that encircles the wearer’s finger; the bezel sits at the top and is both the flat surface and the focal point of the ring, while the signet is the engraving or marking on the top of the ring.
Typically, signets are engraved, but they can be stamped and embossed too. Increasingly, people are opting to leave the bezel blank with either a polished or brushed finish.
With our Kore signet, you can customise with an engraving, monogram and gemstones, positioning the detail where it suits you. With our Arque ring, you can add both gemstones and engraving but on a slimmer bezel.
Traditionally, signet wearers have added status symbols, like family crests or military rings, but you can take your inspiration from any aspect of your life. We often create the following signet rings:
Military signets – Often created to mark a current or ex-military’s dedication to their service. Details can include dates of service, branch logos or certain symbols in remembrance of those lost.
Education signets – Made to mark graduations from university or school, we make signets with a school or university’s coat of arms, extracurricular activities or a graduation date.
Family signets – We can add your family’s existing crest or create one of your own, adding a gemstone for a pop of colour.
Personalised gemstones – Inserting birthstones or other significant gemstones is a really fun way of bringing your own personality to your signet ring.
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog and be sure to check out our other fun and factual blogs!
We can’t wait to hear from you!