History of Signet Rings

History of Signet Ring

For hundreds of years, signet rings have been used by families of influence as a wearable form of identification and communication. Signet rings have graced the fingers of Kings, Queens, Lords and anyone who had some kind of social standing and land ownership. Today, it’s has become an accessory that anyone can wear. 

Signet rings have a long and prominent history, going as far back as 1400 BC, where they were worn by the Mesopotamian and ancient Egyptian civilizations. These rings have always been decorative and elegant throughout history, but were often highly practical objects that played an influential role in society.  

Signet rings were pressed into soft clay or hot wax to leave a distinctive impression that would then act as an official seal. Signet rings were then created solely as an identification mark, so instead of signing their name on a paper, one would simply make their mark with their ring.  

Despite their large sizes, signets were also intended as a symbol of class and wealth with many families having a single ring passed down from one generation to another because of its value.  Only the extremely rich or significant members of society had rings unique to them. This included the King, the religious leaders, the medical doctors, the barristers and the lawyers, as well as other noblemen. 

As the times changed, the men would choose not to wear them on their finger, but instead to mount them on chains or on the fob of their pocket watch and by the nineteenth century, signet rings were mounted with gemstones to increase their worth. 

Todaysignet rings although not dissimilar in style to the ancient signet rings do not hold so much administrative meaning but are rather fashion statements or family heirloom handed down from one generation to the next.  

At Madewear, we hope that our signet designs are viewed by our customers as a worthy modern heirloom that can be passed down from one generation to the next. 

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