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The Essential Signet Ring Style Guide

What is a signet ring? Derived from the Latin word for ‘sign’, the signet ring was once a popular adornment for leaders, aristocrats, and members of royal families. Engraved with a unique family crest, the signet ring was pressed into hot wax and used to mark and seal documents; an early form of signature.

In the modern day, there are endless options for signet ring designs, suitable for both men and women. Create a bespoke heirloom accessory while giving your signet ring meaning by creating your own family crest. Design a timeless accessory with a meaningful phrase or symbol, birthstone, or initials.

What Does a Signet Ring Mean?

Historically, the signet ring was a mark of status, heralding a man’s bloodline or position. It also served as his signature, as unique as a fingerprint. In the 1800s, signet rings were either buried with their owners or handed down through generations as a valuable heirloom.

Today, signet rings often have a personal meaning. Designs range from monogrammed initials to personalised coats of arms to meaningful words and symbols. In short, your signet ring can mean whatever you want it to mean. The complexity of the design is dependent on your taste.

A Brief History of the Signet Ring

Signet rings began as a mark of nobility, worn by the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt - as early as 3500 BC. In the Middle Ages, they were worn by religious leaders and monarchs as a symbol of their nobility, and were also used in espionage to identify spies. By the 16th century, signet rings had gained popularity with men of lower classes, and in the 19th century, they were commonly embellished with precious and semi-precious jewels.

Traditionally, the engravings on men's signet rings were reversed (as a mirror image), so they could be read correctly when pressed into hot wax. Today, the pseudo-signet ring has gained popularity, wherein the engraving is not reversed.

How to Wear a Signet Ring

The traditional way to wear a signet ring is on the fifth finger of the non-dominant hand, with the engraving faced towards the wearer. Today, personal style and taste dictates how a signet ring can be worn. It can be worn on any finger, with the engraving facing toward or away from you, and while signet rings were initially designed for men, they are now popular amongst all genders.

Types of Signet Rings

Historically, signet rings were made from gold. Today, signet rings are still commonly made from gold, but can also be made from silver, platinum, palladium, and other metals.

Stone-set signet rings provide the wearer with the option to embellish their ring with an eye-catching gemstone. Lapis lazuli, carnelian, and onyx are common signet ring stones, while some wearers prefer to incorporate their birthstone into their ring for a personal touch.

Signet rings come in a variety of shapes: the traditional Oxford Oval, as well as the Cushion (square with rounded edges), Landscape Oval (an oval shape lengthened along the horizontal axis), Round, and Marquise (an elongated elliptical shape with pointed ends).

Engraved Signet Rings

A jeweller can engrave your personalised design onto the bezel (top surface) of your signet ring, whether that be a family crest, symbol, word, or set of initials. You may choose to have your design reverse engraved to honour the signet ring’s traditional sealing purpose.

Stone-Set Signet Rings

The signet ring’s bezel can be fitted with prongs for gemstones, or the entire bezel surface may be crafted from a gemstone. Depending on your taste, one or several different kinds of stones can be incorporated into your design. Diamonds can be fixed to the bezel to create a unique signet ring as a wedding ring.

Embossed Signet Rings

Embossing has the opposite effect of engraving; it creates a raised image or design. An embossed signet ring will raise your design against the background of the bezel, producing a high-impact look.

Stamped Signet Rings

As an alternative to engraving, your design can be physically stamped onto the bezel of your signet ring. This process emblazons the ring with a black or colored dye.

View Our Range of Signet Rings Today!

ETRNL’s collection of signet rings are available in black, silver, and gold finishes. Suitable for all genders, our signet rings are made from stainless steel for ultimate durability, and can be engraved by our experienced team, free of charge.

Choose a classic Oxford Oval or Cushion style, or - for a modern, edgy feel - go for a Rectangle or Bar-shaped bezel.

Designed with a comfort fit, ETRNL signet rings slide over the knuckle with ease and can be worn comfortably for long periods without putting pressure on the joint or restricting blood supply.

All our products ship from our Melbourne warehouse within 24 hours, and can be exchanged or returned for free within 60 days.

Browse our collection of stunning signet rings today, and secure your personalised statement accessory, guaranteed to weather the trends of time.