The Resurgence Of The Signet Ring: From Historical Symbol To Day Modern Must-Have



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The signet ring, once a powerful emblem of authority and identity, has made a remarkable comeback in the world of contemporary fashion. 

For such a small piece of jewellery, it’s always made quite the statement. Long associated with toffs, we were once told “Never trust a man who wears a pinkie ring” by our mums. 

However, times are changing and signet rings are making a comeback in all circles, and are even being reclaimed by us gals and independent fashion designers alike .

Traditionally worn on the little finger of the right hand, today they are worn on any finger, – there are no rules, this piece of jewellery, steeped in history and tradition, has evolved to become a modern must-have, blending timeless elegance with personal expression. But how did this ancient artefact transition from a tool of the elite to a staple in today’s jewellery collections? Join us on the fascinating journey of the signet ring.

Historical Significance

Ancient Origins

The signet ring’s origins can be traced back to ancient civilisations, including Egypt, Greece, and Rome. These rings were not merely decorative; they served as personal seals, used to authenticate documents and signify authority. Crafted from precious metals and often engraved with unique family crests or symbols, signet rings were a mark of power and prestige.

Medieval & Renaissance Eras

During the medieval and Renaissance periods, the signet ring maintained its status as a symbol of nobility and influence. Monarchs, nobles, and high-ranking officials wore these rings, which bore intricate designs and heraldic symbols. The rings were pressed into wax or clay to create a seal, ensuring the authenticity of important documents and correspondence.

The Decline

With the advent of modern technology and the decline of wax seals, the practical use of signet rings diminished. By the 19th and early 20th centuries, their popularity waned, and they became more of a nostalgic relic than a functional accessory.

The Revival

In recent years, however, the signet ring has experienced a resurgence, driven by a blend of nostalgia, craftsmanship, and contemporary fashion trends. This revival can be attributed to several factors…

Personalisation & Identity

Pimping your signet has become something of a personal statement. From birds and bees and other insignia, personalisation is a key component of signet rings, with the hand-engraved gold signet ring representing the ultimate modern day fashion statement.

In an era where individuality is celebrated, the signet ring offers a unique way to express personal identity. Modern jewellers provide customisation options, allowing wearers to engrave initials, symbols, or meaningful designs, making each ring a one-of-a-kind piece.


Once upon a time, a guy would give a gal their signet ring as a declaration of intention. Today, people are even buying self-love pinkies. As Maya Allen writes in Cosmopolitan, “The pinky ring is here for every woman to realize the power of loving themselves first, before giving the same kind of love to another person”.

Heritage and Tradition

The signet ring’s rich history and association with heritage appeal to those who appreciate tradition and timeless elegance. Wearing a signet ring can be a way to connect with one’s ancestry and carry forward a piece of family history.

Fashion and Versatility

Contemporary designers have reimagined the signet ring, incorporating modern aesthetics and materials. From minimalist designs to bold, statement pieces, signet rings now cater to a wide range of styles and preferences. Their versatility makes them suitable for both casual and formal occasions.

Celebrity Influence

The influence of celebrities and fashion icons cannot be underestimated. High-profile figures sporting signet rings have contributed to their renewed popularity. When celebrities embrace a trend, it often trickles down to the broader public, sparking interest and demand.

Meghan Markle’s signet ring, in particular, has made massive headlines in recent years. Costing £85, it was revealed to be from Missoma, a demi-fine jewellery brand based in the UK. The ring is described on site as “representing emotions of love, passion and friendship” and is “one to wear close to the heart”.

The Saltburn signet represented another moment in the spotlight for this piece of jewellery, too; a subtle but significant symbol of status. 

Modern Interpretations

Today’s signet rings are a blend of old and new, honouring tradition while embracing contemporary design. Jewellers are experimenting with various metals, gemstones, and engraving techniques to create pieces that resonate with modern sensibilities. Some popular trends include:

  • Minimalist Designs: Sleek, understated rings with clean lines and subtle engravings appeal to those who prefer a minimalist aesthetic.
  • Bold Statements: Larger, more ornate rings with intricate designs and gemstone embellishments make a bold fashion statement.
  • Gender-Neutral Styles: Signet rings are no longer confined to a specific gender. Designers create versatile pieces that can be worn by anyone, regardless of gender.

The Bottom Line

The signet ring’s journey from an ancient symbol of authority to a modern fashion staple is a testament to its enduring appeal. Its ability to adapt and evolve while retaining its historical significance has cemented its place in contemporary jewellery collections. Whether as a personalised accessory, a nod to heritage, or a fashion statement, the signet ring continues to captivate and inspire, proving that some traditions are truly timeless.

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