SIGNET OF THE TIMES

270 Signet of the Times

(I’m back, friends!)

Ever since publishing my last post, I felt reinvigorated – enough to consider what the next post was going to be about. And it came to me quite simply (they have only been on my mind for the longest time)… Signet rings!

The history of signet rings (how they came to be, basically) is what is most interesting to me. Back in the olden days, illustrious folk used to seal important documents and maybe, secret letters (each) with a glob of sealing wax that was impressed upon with their coat of arms. I don’t quite know if typically, it used to be first, a stamp (with the wooden handle) and then later was turned into something convenient, i.e. having the seal set within the bezel of your ring (it would have been easier to have your stamping ring on you at all times). (Speaking of which, I have been longing to make my own sealing wax kit!)

To have your own trademark in the form of a seal is very exciting to me, and from what I have deduced, people usually opted to create motifs that are only theirs, much like a logo that forms the signet. Maybe a fleur-de-lis or rose combined with perhaps their monogram or something else representational like an animal, object or ornament etc. These motifs tell you about the individual, what they stood for or were associated with; which is perhaps why it may have been restricted to certain sects of people (kind of sad because I am a common woman and had I been born then, I would certainly have loved to have the means to forge a crest as part of my legacy).

Getting to the jewellery bit (sorry it took forever) – I do have quite the thing for antique and heirloom pieces, could you tell? Signet rings are exquisite to have and hold; of course, in today’s day and age, it might not be the simplest to get your own such ring made (it would be fairly expensive, for one)… Even so, here are a few I spotted on the interwebz that left a lasting impression on me (see what I did there, heh):

Cosma Signet Ring, KATKIM – $990

Femme Ring, Wolf Circus – $140

Giulia Ring, CINCO – €45

Grande Dame Signet Ring, Maison Mayle – $250

Morena Saint Ring, Five and Two –  Rs. 3,039.71

Signet Ronde Gold, MIMI ET TOI – €80.00

Slim Signet Ring, Ariel Gordon – $450

Wyatt Signet, Merewif – $66

Closer to home, I’ve spotted one on Sreesha’s website, SHOP LUNE and something kinda sorta like a signet ring on KICHU (I mean, the signet ring has Egyptian roots and this could very well pass off as one!). I also have a ring from Forever 21 (not pictured here). I bought it a few years ago, and I love the almost arabesque inscription; it is even better that the signet opens up (like a locket) to reveal an embossed symbol of a Roman cross. I’ve been wearing it a lot, recently; I’ve come to think of it as my very own Papal ring (ha)!

P.S. This post has been exceptionally long but if you’re still here and reading, I should tell you that year’s Met Gala theme, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination contributed further to my thinking about heirloom-like, almost Victorian fashions. I would have loved to see close-ups of anyone wearing signet rings at the event but sadly, when I was researching for this piece, I didn’t find any. Should you have any information, I beseech you to share it in the comments below! (In order of their appearance, the picture credits are as follows: Wolf Circus, FINE LIFE CO, Marko MacPherson, LUV AJ, The Deeps, Merewif, HONESTLY WTF, Merewif.)

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

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