Most in the jewelry industry are more than familiar with the signet ring, a style that has been around for ages but has recently seen a spike in popularity. Whether you design them or sell them, admire them or take an interest in their history, there’s no shortage in the current market of pieces to please.
It appears that the general public, however, has some concerns.
Google “signet ring” and a surprising theme appears: People seem especially skeptical of the style, some going so far as to wonder about the legality of wearing one. Some of the most popular searches include “What does wearing a signet ring mean?”; “Is it okay to wear a signet ring?”; and the kicker, “Is wearing a signet ring legal?”
Perhaps it’s the style’s history, twisted and tumbled through years of interpretation, that has curious consumers confused. Going back to the 19th century, the pinky ring—most often a style of signet—was a symbol of organized crime, often worn by bosses of powerful families. Most people wondering about the lawfulness of such pieces are probably referring to what they’ve no doubt seen in films like The Godfather and other Mafia-centric films and TV shows. Given how powerfully symbolic jewelry can be, the signet’s reputation is really not surprising.
The signet ring itself has a history going further back than even that, used as a symbol of power and class, as a seal to authenticate documents, and as a method of signature.
Today, signet rings are one of the coolest styles on the market—and currently very popular. Whether worn on the pinky for a style that’s totally boss or even selected as an alternative engagement ring, this storied jewel contains multitudes of meaning and potential. Here, some of the newest to stock, stat—just in time for the holidays.
Top: Memoir crest signet ring in 18k yellow gold with diamonds, $7,500; Briony Raymond
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