Signet rings have been popular for a long time, the Bible even mentions the use of signet rings. Their orgins can be traced back to 3500 BC in ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and ancient Nubia. Originally, signet rings were used to sign or stamp documents. The rings would often be emblazoned with a family crest. The metal shapes would leave a permanent mark in any soft wax or clay, and this would be placed onto various legal documents. The stamp of a signet ring was often considered to be more authentic than an actual signature. The rings were reversed engineered to ensure that the design came out properly when they were stamped on a document. The reverse engineering made these rings very difficult to copy and very expensive. Many of history’s most important documents were stamped with a signet ring.
From left to right: size 6.25 for $500, size 7.25 for $505, size 6 for $670, size 6 for $$1,150. All are solid 14k yellow gold and sizable.
Records show that the idea for signet rings actually came from Mesopotamia. Mesopotamians used cylindrical seals as marks of authenticity. By the time of ancient Egyptians, the seal had become a ring. Pharaohs and other people of importance would wear this ring as a symbol of status as well as their position.
Square shaped signet ring in 14k gold, size 6, and $475.
Signet rings haven’t always looked the way they do now. During the early Minoan period they were made of soft stones or Ivory. By the end of the Minoan period they were using harder stones. It wasn’t until the Bronze age that we started to see these rings being made of metal and they took on the appearance of todays signet rings.
Hexagon hollow signet ring with cut-outs. Size, 4.5, 14k solid gold, and $450.
By the age of the Renaissance anybody and everybody of importance had a signet ring. Anybody that was considered to be royalty used a signet ring to sign all important legal documents and letters. The fourteenth century King of England, Edward II, made it so every official document was signed by the King’s signet ring. Signet rings from this time were often destroyed with the passing of their owners, so they could not be duplicated and used for forgery.
Left: circle signet ring with floral detail around entire band, size 6.75, and $650. Right: diamond shaped signet ring, size 6.75 and $750. Both are 14k yellow gold.
The 19th century is when signet rings started to become more decorative. They were often adorned with precious and semi precious gems, and the best of them had stones set on a rotating bezel so it could be worn facing out or in. By this time they were all made of either silver or gold.
Circle signet rings in solid 14k white gold. Left is size 8 for $580 and right is size 9 for $545.
Today signet rings are worn as a form of self expression and individuality. People often get them engraved with their initials as well as initials of loved ones or have birthstones added. Unlike the past, a lot of people prefer to wear a simple plain signet ring with no engraving or stones. People also wear signet rings to show their affiliation to a group, organization or school. Signet rings make for great family heirlooms to be passed down from generation to generation. Here at Hegeman & Co. we can custom design any signet ring to your liking.
Please contact us to purchase and/or customize any rings above, and visit our Providence location to view the complete collection of solid gold signet rings.