Signet (from lat. signum — a sign) — a kind of male decorative ring. It is perceived as an extravagant element of the male image. It is considered synonymous with elegance and refined taste. This is an ageless classic that will never go out of style. Depending on the style and design, such an accessory emphasizes professionalism, creates prestige and indicates the high social status of its owner.
About what types of men’s signet rings are produced, what meaning they have, how to choose them and how to wear them correctly, will be discussed in this article.
Signet rings were made as early as 3500 BC. The Mesopotamians used them as a method of verifying the authenticity of their belongings.
Unlike the ring, the signet originally looked like a cylindrical device that was rolled on wet clay, leaving a distinct imprint in it. It was used as a sealing wax to seal various envelopes, jars and packages, which became the prototype of corporate printing and branding. The image remained when the ring was pressed into it, so the decoration was resistant to wear and damage.
In the early Minoan era, these products were made from soft stones and ivory. In the middle Minoan era, people learned to work harder stone and metal. During the Hellenistic period (323 BC — 31 AD), they were considered a form of decorative art. King Mithridates VI of Pontus was an avid collector of various seals from various jewelers.
In ancient Egypt, pharaohs, religious leaders and wealthy nobles wore seals made of stone or ceramics. These rings were flat on the outside and adorned with symbols that identified their owner. The most common were initials and monograms. Men holding the title of king or lord wore rings emblazoned with their official coat of arms or family crest. Some had simple symbols while others had a single letter or a separate pattern.
In the Middle Ages and until the 19th century, most men wore these rings with some kind of badge on the upper flat side. They were made of gold or silver with a cast design, and not carved on the surface. In ancient times they were used to store poisons.
Since the seal of the king was the most valuable in the world, it was considered an important artifact, a sign of elitism and belonging to the upper class of society.
Even though legal documents already existed, the art of writing by hand had not yet been invented. This is one of the reasons why the signet was so important to people who had to be responsible for signing official documents of national importance.
Because this ring was considered powerful, it was destroyed when the wearer died. The funeral was accompanied by a ring burning ceremony.
Many men chose not to wear them on their finger, but instead wore them as a pendant on a chain or worn as a pendant on a bracelet or watch strap.
In the 19th century, men began to wear precious stones such as rubies and garnets attached to their ring. Made from equally important metals such as gold and silver, solid metal varieties traditionally featured raised emblems. With the popularity of signet rings, many families kept these rings in their family’s jewelry boxes as they became more expensive over the years. They were then sold as antiques.
Today, some large corporations and wealthy families continue to give signet rings on the occasion of graduating from a university, receiving a degree, or as a sign of respect and gratitude.
Many military people wear signet rings that reflect their rank as a status symbol or to showcase the branch of service they served.
What are the types of men’s signet rings?
6 varieties of men’s signet rings of various shapes are made:
- round — the least popular among men because of the similarity with women’s jewelry. It is not suitable for all representatives of the stronger sex. Often this form is chosen by individuals who love outrageous and extravagant accessories;
- straight oval — most used for engraving family coats of arms, monograms and initials. Jewelry of this form emphasizes the style of a man and the unusualness of his worldview, suitable for young people. Typically, such seals are engraved with images of national symbols, belonging to an old family, etc.;
- Oxford is a heavy ring shaped like a solid square or rectangle with rounded corners. In most cases, it is made with an insert of a precious stone — onyx, lapis lazuli, ruby, dark red carnelian, black or transparent diamond, malachite, amber;
- convex oval — a massive and heavy, but self-sufficient ring, even without a pattern;
- octagon — an equilateral octagon — a modern, minimalistic and much less traditional style;
- A rectangular pillow with rounded corners is a favorite shape in the Victorian era. Suitable for men of all ages, with any shape and length of fingers, both for business and for free style.
Jewelers have not yet decided whether jewelry in the form of figures (animal heads, skulls, card suits) should be called seals. One way or another, this is a jewelry trend that is insanely popular among young people. Such products perfectly emphasize the bold style of the owner, his outrageousness and youthful maximalism, and for a respectable man such an accessory was inappropriate.
As for the coat of arms or pattern, it can be flat, convex or engraved at the same depth, or in three-dimensional engraving, which takes longer, looks much more beautiful but more expensive.
Depending on the location of the stone — it can be open or closed. Exposed stone collects dirt and is very difficult to clean.
In recent years, technological advances have made it possible to produce laser engraved seals in any style:
- traditional (everyday)
- minimalistic (without an insert with a stone and a pattern),
On which finger is a man’s signet worn?
This is a matter of personal preferences, clothing style, national and religious traditions.
- In ancient Egypt, fingers were associated with various natural elements: the index finger — with fire,
- middle — with the ground,
- nameless meant air,
- little finger — water,
- the large one symbolized the connection of man with the supreme deities.
Among the Slavic peoples, rings with seals were worn on the ring finger of the left hand. Aristocrats of Great Britain and Anglo-Saxons — on the little finger of the right hand.
In Catholic countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, on the ring finger of the left hand.
Today there is complete freedom in choosing the location of this ring. But it is often worn according to the type of male seals and as a talisman — according to the symbolic meaning of the fingers:
- big — wealth;
- index — power and leadership;
- medium — balance and harmony in life, balance in the soul;
- nameless — courage and strength of character;
- little finger — individualism.
How to successfully choose a men’s signet
It is believed that the signet gains strength on the hand and is in harmony with the character of the owner; everyday wearing it will perfectly complement his masculinity and charisma.
When choosing this type of ring, you must consider:
- material. Golden seals are considered the most prestigious. Silver — inexpensive and versatile. Platinum and titanium are also very popular. Platinum jewelry is hypoallergenic. It does not cause any adverse reactions to the body. Titanium is a light material, so a ring made of it can be worn every day, almost without feeling it on the finger. Steel signet rings, especially gold-plated, blackened or rhodium-plated, are an interesting solution. They are also inexpensive, practical and durable;
- color. Yellow gold is a traditional noble metal, where an alloy of silver and copper is added for strength. White gold is a light-colored alloy obtained by combining nickel, silver and palladium. Red gold is the most popular gold alloy in the post-Soviet space. It contains 41% copper. Pink — an alloy of gold with the addition of copper and silver;
- design. Classic models are practical and versatile. Author’s fantasy allows, with the help of jewelry, to demonstrate the originality of a person and his interests;
- stylistic decision and metal shade of other accessories, such as:
- cross chain,
- tie clip,
- watch strap,
- belt buckle.
Together with the ring, they should form a single whole and look like a well-thought-out set.
How to wear a men’s signet
Those who decide to wear a signet ring made of gold or silver should take care of a suitable outfit. Ideally, it should be an elegant or formal business suit, a classic shirt and a tie.
A massive diamond or emerald ring on the hand of a man in a polo shirt and jeans or a regular T-shirt and shorts can look fancy, associated with vulgarity and kitsch.
In the case of steel or titanium models, casual style is acceptable.
Since this decoration draws attention to the hands, it is necessary that they be clean and well-groomed.
How much does a men’s signet cost in the Silvers online store?
The price depends on the printing option:
- the cheapest products are made of titanium or medical steel in a simple and minimalist style;
- more expensive jewelry made of silver or gold with fantasy and vintage figurines, especially from the collections of famous jewelry brands and their replicas;
- the most expensive ones are made to order, taking into account the individual requirements and wishes of the future owner. This is a very expensive service and a long story that requires preliminary development of a design layout, approval and several fittings. A man is unlikely to agree to this.
Faster — order and give him a beautiful men’s ring in the Silvers online store with delivery in Ukraine. Just put the jewelry you like in the shopping cart and leave a request on the site by clicking the «Buy» button.