Signet rings have a long and rich history, and their timelessness has helped them withstand the vast and various changes in trends over the centuries. They’ve served many purposes throughout the years from function to fashion.
As noted by Rachel Church, curator, author, and authority on rings of antiquity, signet rings are a good way to showcase good taste and identity. She also states that they’re incredibly versatile, and they can display all sorts of designs such as initials, coats of arms, and even pets!
Keep reading to know more about these beautiful and timeless pieces of jewelry and the best ways to wear them.
What is a signet ring?
Signet rings can be distinguished from other types by their wide and flat center.
Traditionally, these are usually engraved with an identification mark or symbol, such as family crests or royal symbols, which were previously used to
sign and seal important documents, or signaled that the wearer—which was usually a man—was of great importance and influence.
Signet rings have been in fashion ever since humans started wearing jewelry. They were worn during the Old Testament days and were popular in ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian cultures. They have also been worn
among royalty throughout history up to the modern age.
Case in point, the British royal family’s collection of signet rings bear important symbols and represent their social status. It’s most recognizable on King Charles—his ring was given to him when he became the Prince of Wales—but they’ve also been worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
They’ve also been used to signify marriage or serve as family heirlooms. Nowadays, signet rings are now a means to showcase personal style. Anyone of any class, gender, and background can wear them. Danielle Thom, curator at the Museum of London, notes that their appeal to all sexes, versatility in designs, and the desire for personalized jewelry has helped signet rings make a comeback.
They’re something that can show others who you are in a timeless and unique fashion. Here are some ways you can style them to make a
How to style a signet ring
Most kinds of rings usually have traditional placements and ways of being worn. Our post called “On Which Finger Should A Man Wear His Promise Ring?” discusses how men would typically wear their promise ring on their left ring
finger to signify that he was spoken for.
However, wearing them on another finger, on the other hand, or on a chain to be worn around the neck are still suitable options. The same goes for signet rings; they were most often worn on the
pinky finger of the right hand, but now they can be worn all kinds of ways. Here are a few to consider:
- The traditional style - You can hark back to traditions and wear a signet ring on your pinky finger, and you can wear it on its own to draw attention to it. You can wear them with smart casual or formal attire to add some power and elegance to your look, like how they would have been worn on important figures.
- Flattering the fingers - Signet rings come in various shapes, and certain ones can complement your fingers more than others. If you have wide fingers, geometric or oxford shapes can work best. Rounded ones can flatter slender fingers.
- The rule-breaker approach - You don’t actually have to abide by the traditions when it comes to signet rings; wear them in the way you feel suits you best! Style them with multiple rings to add a wow factor to any outfit, whether you’re in slacks or sweatpants. Feel free to engrave whatever you choose on them or even leave it blank.
Prepared by: Joan Blaine