The History of the Signet ring dates back thousands of years and was an item which served multiple purposes. Initially it was a piece of jewellery, usually made from bronze, gold and then as time moved on silver, platinum, palladium etc. It was also frequently engraved (by hand originally) with a family crest or emblem for the signing or sealing of important documents and or letters. A signature could be forged, but a unique cast of an individuals ring was even more secure as the item was worn at all times by the wearer.
(above: see my personal signet ring and the original cast it was made from)
Signet rings have been used for millennia dating back to the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians, but at the time were reserved usually for royalty of individuals of high standing within society.
By the 20th century Signet rings were more commonly worn by more and more people, not just the wealthy of high-born and were seen as one of the must-have items for any gentlemen. With the skills of master engravers and stone-setters there were/are thousands of varieties in design and appearance including stone set (onyx/diamond/bloodstone etc) or monogrammed, oval or shield shapped were made. Towards the later part of the century the type of ring that would be classified as a signet ring changed slightly (as they were not always used to seal documents etc anymore) so more elaborate designs can be found.
Pictured above are some of our lovely pieces in gold and silver, all are available to purchase (at time of writing)
Nowadays the Signet ring is usually a traditional gift on a young man or ladies milestone birthday, 16th/18th/21st/30th and will then be engraved with either their initials (monogrammed) or seal engraved with a family coat of arms. Alternatively they are lovely heirloom pieces that can be passed down through the generations (I have my grandfathers old Masonic signet ring).
With the popularity of "vintage" and "retro" on the rise the iconic designs of the Signet ring will always make them a popular choice for special items of jewellery. With the increasing price of gold and the diminishing British jewellery manufacturing industry, few companies can still get hold of quality, solid gold and silver Signet rings. But here at P.W.House Jewellers we have you covered, we always stock a range of this product in a variety of styles. We offer a range of engraving options too, on-site for the personalisation of these beautiful pieces so pop in and see us so we can help you with yours. We also can help with re-sizing an old signet ring you might have been left.