The signet ring has been a style of jewelry for generations. It’s one of the oldest forms of western rings yet remains popular today. Let’s take a look at everything you want to know about the signet ring (the history, the symbolism, the styles) so you can find the one that suits you best.
The first signet rings were worn by the ancient Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans. There are many legends related to the origin of the signet ring. Nevertheless, it is known that they appeared the first in Egypt, approximately 3000 years ago. The most famous owner of the signet ring was Julius Caesar. He wore a personalized signet ring with an engraving of a sphinx, which helped him to establish power in Rome, and put an end to another empire — Roman Republic. Later, the citizens of Rome adopted this style as accessories and they started wearing them on the fourth finger of their right hand. The use of seal rings gradually spread until they became popular with people throughout daily life, from merchants to noblemen.
Likewise, Alexander the great favored the signet ring style. Around 4400 years ago, the legendary king of Macedonia used his signet ring to seal documents and letters sent across his kingdom. The Greek word "Sigilla" translates literally to mean "seals"; originally each ring was engraved with different designs and worn by all leaders among the population. As master of all things, Alexander channeled his authority through these rings; demanding instant obedience and full support from all.
In addition, one of the first and most famous wearers of the signet ring style was King Solomon. He was Israel's wisest ruler and renowned for his wisdom. He was famous for his signet ring which featured the Image of a rising Sun encircled by 12 precious stones. In ancient times, it was believed that an engraved signet ring derived its power and strength from the stone set into it. Much like an engraved key, this piece of jewelry would unlock the hidden energy in gems that includes wise judgement.
Over the centuries, the signet initial ring has been used for a variety of purposes. In the Middle Ages, it became an official seal of approval for documents signed by the nobility and then later evolved into a more personal accessory as family insignia were engraved on rings known as crest rings.
The use of family crest signet rings grew in popularity during the Victorian Period, when they were often given as gifts between family members and friends. Custom signet rings were created as a way to preserve family crests and coats of arms that would otherwise be destroyed in battle or wear over time. The tradition of the family signet ring has long been passed down from one generation to the next for centuries, becoming a part of a family's legacy.
From the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Babylon, to the heydays of Greek and Roman rule, the signet ring is a piece of jewelry that remains a style staple for people across all cultures and walks of life.