Make your mark: Signet rings

This is who I am and this is what I stand for. Wearing a signet ring is a statement of pride: in your family, a group, an attitude. And good style. Because signet rings with a family crest, an individual engraving or personal seal are status symbols that unite the classic with the fashionable. Not for nothing is showing your colours one of the surprising rediscoveries of our time. They are displayed by men as well as women, just as signet rings do – although in both history and the modern era these are primarily known as the jewellery of the aristocratic gentleman. However, crest rings and new signet ring designs now accompany both ladies and gentlemen through life. Classic jewellery for those in the know.

Romeo & Juliet

Gold Niccolo Signet ring with family crest engraving

Rembrandt & Saskia

Gold Siegelring mit Lagenkarneol und Handgravur

Tristan & Isolde

Darcy & Elizabeth

Dignity, values and nobleness

It is a classic amongst rings, perhaps even t h e classic: the signet ring radiates dignity, without the need for distance. It makes the observer curious about the people and the history behind it, perhaps even a little envious. Because not everyone wears one of these. A gold signet ring, with or without stone, with or without crest or personal inscription is not jewellery to be purchased in passing or given unthinkingly as a gift.

Decisions need to be taken. Those that already have a family crest need to find the right setting for this, others research their own or find symbols and signs that relate to them or the recipient, signifying an important sense of belonging. One thing that is always required is introspection for oneself or the person concerned, which serves to ennoble the jewellery. Signet rings lend dignity to their wearers – and look very good in the process.

Making a Signet Ring with Engraved Gemstone

Watch the team of artisans create a signet ring in 18 carat white gold with a blue layered onyx seal stone. The goldsmith forges the shape and refines the surface of the cast ring with great care. The stone cutter slices the signet stone from natural boulders before it is then shaped and the essential facets are finished by hand. Setting the oval layer stone is a great challenge for the gem-setter. The gem engraver engraves the intaglio in many individual steps freehand. As proof of the correct work a seal impression is made for the customer. Finally, this masterpiece of the art of goldsmithing is carefully polished.

How to wear signet rings

Those who own a signet ring like to wear it every day. Depending on the design, this complements the wardrobe perfectly. It accentuates a classic, elegant dress, becoming the sophisticated eye-catcher of an assured appearance. Sporty outfits are also enhanced by a signet ring, although it should be removed during actual sporting activity. Not the rule, but an interesting exception: even eccentric looks can be augmented with expressive signet rings. Whilst gentlemen typically favour wearing signet rings on their own, ladies often take a more virtuoso approach. These are no longer displayed merely in classic form.

Although crest rings with great family tradition would seem above fashionable styling, combinations are nonetheless possible. With plain wedding rings, for example, or other discreet ring designs that do not offer competition. The more neutral and fashionable the signet ring appears, the easier it is for ladies to mix & match – for example, with corresponding models of similar design. Then the rule that the signet ring is always worn on the ring finger can also be ignored. A little finesse is called for nevertheless: because gold signet rings are always something special.

Blue oval intaglio signet ring with hand engraved coat of arms consisting of schield, helmet and crest

The perfect gift for discerning recipients

Those with an eye for the special will appreciate such a gift. A family crest ring or signet ring with or without engraving is a testimony to particular esteem. It is a gift typically given within the family – as a wedding day surprise, to commemorate a birth, a birthday, school graduation or the completion of vocational training.

Signet rings are sometimes worn as wedding rings, accompanying husband and wife throughout their life together. In addition, signet rings are also exchanged amongst friends or within groups sharing the same values. The USA gave rise to the tradition of using rings to mark affiliation to a school or university.

Family crest rings

The family coat of arms was traditionally engraved into the bezel – the flat upper surface of the ring. Aristocratic families – formerly the privileged wearers of signet rings – treat these as a matter of course, wearing their family crest ring with pride. Many non-aristocratic families also have a coat of arms – and are often unaware of it. Only after researching is this discovered and the treasure from the past restored to significance.

Whether it is uncovered whilst investigating family history, created from new by a heraldic designer or treasured within the family over the course of generations: for many families the heraldic emblem is a symbol of cohesion, reinforcing values that all members hold in high esteem. A certain style is also manifested, incorporating classical and high-class characteristics.

Round orange signet ring 18kt yellow gold with hand engraved intaglio coat of arms with schield, crown and mantling
Tonneau shaped 18kt whitel gold signet ring with pale blue layered onyx and hand engraved anchor

Highly personal symbols and designs

For some the symbolism takes the form of a rose, whilst others favour animal motifs, initials or personalise their ring with individual parables. Whatever symbol or engraving – beyond heraldry – decorates the gold signet ring, these are statements and signs of a specific attitude to life. Preserved in an item of jewellery of enduring significance.

At Victor Mayer there is a choice of motifs available with which to transform a signet ring into a personalised piece. The large range of forms and designs, but above all the traditional craftsmanship seldom found elsewhere, bear testament to the special worth of this jewellery.

Handmade with traditional craftsmanship

The faster the pace of life and the greater the influence of technology, the more people long for enduring craftsmanship and products with a traditional significance. Victor Mayer has nurtured these values for generations. Each signet ring for men or women is transformed into a unique item through the skill of select masters of their trade. In gold or platinum, with the finest, handmade engravings or set with the blue stones typical for signet rings and table-cut stones such as niccolo and bloodstone.

These reveal their beauty in classical settings – modern and pure or with the finest gemstone engravings of individual beauty. The imagination knowns no bounds: messages from the person giving the ring or from the wearer him or herself make a gold signet ring part of one’s own identity. Large and small shapes, round, oval or octagonal, plain or intricate, feminine or masculine: as a specialist for signet rings, Victor Mayer fulfils even the most unusual requests, always in the finest quality and to the highest standard of craftsmanship.

Victor-Mayer Oval Intaglio Signet Ring Layered blue Onyx Engraving in Workshop

Creating a gold engraved signet ring

We show you the numerous steps of the elaborate production of a signet ring made of solid 18-karat yellow gold in our workshops. See with how much dedication our goldsmith works on the signet ring. Look over the shoulder of our engraver as she first transfers a griffin from the template onto the signet ring. In many individual steps she first engraves the contours of the heraldic beast. Then she engraves in depth so that a three-dimensional seal impression can be created. Finally, an impression is made in sealing wax as proof of quality and the signet ring receives a final polish.

Looking to the past

As the keeper of traditions and values, today the signet ring has a thoroughly contemporary image. Despite this, it is worth taking a brief look at the past. After all, the signet ring is amongst the oldest items of jewellery found, its history stretching back some 3000 years. In China, ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome – every great era was accompanied by signet rings.

The rings were worn by individuals of high standing, with the seal used as a form of historical data protection – with the aid of liquid wax, used to enclose letters and secure them with the mark of the seal. However, the signet ring was never merely used to seal messages, it was also an item of jewellery and a companion that has accompanied us through the course of the centuries. A modern classic, in other words.

Signet ring with intaglio of a mare suckling a foal, gold with red jasper, Rome, 3rd century AD, Β© Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, inv. no. 1969/66, photo Winfried Reinhardt

Signet ring with intaglio of a mare suckling a foal Gold with red jasper, Rome, 3rd century AD, Β© Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim

Do you have any questions?

Please click on the chosen area to get to know our jewellery better:

Diamond-set gold ring with silver, blue and pink enameled guilloche

Enamel Jewellery

Diamond-set gold locket for your own pictures