The signet ring is a finger ring containing a small seal. Historically, it was functional, as well as ornamental, and easily recognized as official. The word signet is derived from the latin word “signum”, meaning sign so this was a signature ring. The ring was constructed in metal, such as gold or silver, and the coat of arms or monogram would be engraved, in reverse, on the flat bezel on the top of the ring. Because the seal was in the form of a ring, the seal was always safe when worn by it’s owner or “ring bearer”, reducing the risk of theft and fraud. The ring was also seen as a symbol of the wearers power because it was used to attest the authority and authenticity of its bearer. After the death of its owner, the signet ring was often ceremoniously destroyed, which is why so few significantly historical rings bearing seals of monarchs, politicians and religious leaders are found today, making them highly collectible. Very few copies of official signet rings were ever created, in order to reduce the chances of fraud. Most likely, surviving rings of notable owners would be found in museum collections.
Do you have a signet ring or wax seal that you would like me to stamp in fine silver to create a custom wax seal charm for yourself or as a personalized gift for family members? I do that! Just email me at email@example.com and we can work out the details!