A sign of the times: signet rings undergo a reinvention

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Once the preserve of aristocratic gentlemen, the signet ring’s appeal has expanded in recent years.

What’s a signet ring? Those who can recall delving into their Latin text books, might glean that the word signet comes from the Latin word ‘signum’ which means sign. Back in the days when wealthy and powerful individuals sealed important documents to prove authenticity, signet rings were pressed into hot wax by the wearer who then ‘sealed’ the document. Of course, we’ve long abandoned the personal wax seal but that doesn’t mean signet rings have disappeared. In fact, in recent years, the signet ring has become decidedly on-trend.


Yellow Gold Oval Signet Ring

A ring for women too

One reason is that although traditionally seen as a ring for men, women are increasingly wearing signet rings. And with this change in wearer, comes the breakdown of the convention that says signet rings should be worn on the little finger of the non-dominant hand.
It’s probably no surprise then, given the rise in popularity, that signet rings are now available in a dizzying combination of precious metals and gemstones. You could have gold or silver in shapes such as oval, cushion, square and round. How about a full gemstone inlay such as lapis lazuli or bloodstone, or just a small diamond set into the head of the ring?


Rose Gold Cushion Signet Ring

Any shape or design you like

In fact, a signet ring can be produced in almost any size or shape, while the head of the ring can be engraved in multiple fonts with initials perhaps, or a family crest. All of which makes a signet ring a perfect gift for special birthdays, or other special occasions such as a graduation, and can easily become a family heirloom. They are also even used in place of a more conventional wedding band.
Given the infinite combination of shapes, sizes and design, a signet ring can be tailored to any budget. Cheltenham jeweller Martin & Co has plenty of signet rings in stock, but can also design a bespoke ring. Why not pop into the shop or look online and see if there’s a signet ring perfect for you or a loved one?