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Signet Rings: The Latest Fashion Statement

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Signet Rings have almost come full circle from ancient jewelry to today's fashion statement.

Ancient Egyptian Signet Ring,  King Tut

Ancient Egyptian Signet Ring, King Tut

Ancient Ring, France

Ancient Ring, France

History of Signet Rings

Signet Ring's term comes from the Latin "Signum," which means SIGN. As far back as 3500 B.C., during the Mesopotamia Period, when the people needed a way to place their signature or make a "seal" on documents, and began using roll rings to place in the wax as their signature. The writing was not reliable as many couldn't read or write, but 'marks' were easily accepted.

The Egyptian Pharaohs were quick to see the rings' advantage and began wearing them, complete with hieroglyphics' engraving on their rings. This extremely tedious engraving fit on the small surface of the rings. References have been made of signet rings in the Bible, Genesis 41:42. So the history of signet rings is indeed long. And it was king John, when signing the Magna Charter in 1215 A.D between the King and his barons, that he sealed his ring in the wax.

It was King Edward II during the Middle Ages who decreed that all documents must be signed with the King's signet ring.

An interesting fact was that during WW II, the United States Air Force purchased signet rings with a hidden compartment that could hold secret messages.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue, New York, has exhibitions of ancient signet rings. The museum is the largest in the United States.


WW II Signet Ring With Secret Compartment

WW II Signet Ring With Secret Compartment

Antique Civil War Signet Ring

Antique Civil War Signet Ring

Ancient Roll Rings Before Signet Rings

Ancient Roll Rings Before Signet Rings

Ancient Egyptian Ring

Ancient Egyptian Ring

King John's Seal on Magna Carter 1215

King John's Seal on Magna Carter 1215

Popes Rings

A Pop's ring was that of St. Peter the Fisherman also known as the Piscatory Ring. When the Pope died, it was the duty of the Cardinal Camerlengo to destroy the ring completely to avoid any improprieties or forgeries. The same destruction was carried out for Kings for the same reasons.

Pope Leo X III

Pope Leo X III

Greek Signet Ring

Greek Signet Ring

Viking Signet Rings

Viking Signet Rings

Antique Signet Ring

Antique Signet Ring

Rules On How To Wear A Signet Ring

Fortunately, there are no specific rules for the placement of the rings. Today, it strictly up to personal preference. However, most wear them on the "pinky" finger of their less dominant hand. Sir Winston Churchill wore his on his middle finger, as did men from the Middle East who also wore them on a thumb. Men of the Middle Ages seemed to prefer wearing them on a gold chain on their pocket watches. President Franklin D. Roosevelt wore his stacked with his wedding ring on his left ringer finger.

Prince Charles wears a signet ring with the Crest of The Prince of Wales.

FOB for Pocket Watches

FOB for Pocket Watches

Pres. FDR with Stacked Signet Ring

Pres. FDR with Stacked Signet Ring

Famous Wearers of Signet Rings

Many notable people of all walks of life wear signet rings. This includes:

Steve McQueen, Michael Cain, Frank Sinatra, Sir Winston Churchill, Prince Charles, Elvis Presley, President Roosevelt, Pipa Middleton, Princess Diana, Meghan Markle. And the list goes on and on.

Today, rings are worn by the Freemasons, class rings, military rings, even biker rings. They signify identification with a certain group or organization.

Rings designs are endless with or without stones, can include monograms, initials, or engravings of anything. They are usually of gold but again, it's a personal preference. They are beautiful and a simple fashion statement no longer just for the wealthy or elite.

Prince Charles Signet Ring

Prince Charles Signet Ring

Comments

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on March 13, 2021:

Rosina, thanks for your visit. I will pay more attention to pinky rings.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on March 11, 2021:

Pamela, thanks for your visit. I find myself looking for signet rings on everyone's hands.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on March 11, 2021:

Rosina, thanks for reading and your generous comments.

Rosina S Khan on March 10, 2021:

This is an interest account about signet rings. It was interesting to watch how they varied in appearance from the ancient to the modern times. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the superb share, Fran.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on March 10, 2021:

Fran, this was a good article.. The history and photos of different signet rings was interesting and it was an enjoyable read.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 10, 2021:

There are a lot of famous people that wear or wore signet rings. Most of your article was new to me, Fran. I enjoyed reading your article.

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