Worn for thousands of years, signet rings originally represented family heritage, and were intricately adorned with a coat of arms or your family crest. They are now a modern and fashionable statement of individuality, while still flying the flag for traditionalism. Signet rings were traditionally used to print the author's seal on the wax that sealed important documents; the seal showed who the letter was from and meant that the letter could not be intercepted without evidence, hence the term seal engraving.
HAND ENGRAVING SERVICE
You can design whatever you like to be engraved into your ring with my hand engraving service. Initials, dates, combined crests and coats of arms, fingerprints, flowers, shells, Kentish hops, birds … just ask and I’ll create the perfect design for you, handcrafted in 9ct or 18ct gold in yellow, rose, or white, or platinum. In my made-to-order collection I have signet rings available in 9ct and 18ct gold already designed with a specific face size. I also have a selection of signet ring samples in different shapes and face sizes for you to try on for convenience at my workshop in Kent.
In my workshop, I first hand carve the ring in wax. Carving the wax is a highly intricate process; the shape and symmetry of the ring must be absolutely perfect before it is cast into your chosen metal. The molten metal is poured into a mould taken from the wax ring in a technique called casting. For each different size and shape face I have a master pattern which new moulds can be taken from.
HOW ARE SIGNET RINGS MADE?
Seal engraving is the traditional hand engraving method. The design is engraved in reverse on the ring so that when it is pressed into the sealing wax it is ‘right-side-up’, with a raised 3D effect and a huge amount of detail. However, if you wish, you can have the design the correct way on the ring, therefore in reverse on the sealing wax - having it the other way around is just the traditional option. Family crests, coats of arms, initials and lots more designs can be hand engraved in this way and can be lots of fun when it comes to sealing Christmas cards!
Rather than being in reverse like a seal engraved ring, surface engraving is the correct way round on the ring. The image doesn’t reach quite as deeply into the metal as it does with seal engraving - it is more on the immediate surface of the metal - but it definitely stands the test of time. Surface engraving works very well for initials as well as family crests, coats of arms and lots more designs; it really is a case of personal style and choice.
CRESTS & COAT
These are historically the most traditional designs for the engraving on a signet ring. However we don't have to stick to convention and we can use creative license to modernise and alter the design to suit you.
The main difference between a crest and coat of arms is that a crest is a part of a coat of arms, usually found above the helmet, and is often depicted by a lion, eagle, or another symbol. A crest would represent the whole family, and a coat of arms represented an individual, and would often decorate a knight's shield.
These four drawings are all crests, we can combine two if you have a double-barrelled surname or would like to represent two sides of your family. Or, we can design a coat of arms specifically for you. With either option, we can adapt old designs and simplify them where necessary.