Signets of the Times
The new generation of this traditional ring is playful, quirky and deeply personal.
Signet rings started out as the most formal piece of jewelry imaginable, impressed on wax seals as a stamp of authority or carved with imposing crests to signal heraldry and class. Today’s variations are much more frivolous — but just as personal.
“Gone are the days of tradition…however, what we are left with is a ring steeped in symbolism and a way to represent our loved ones,” says Cece Fein Hughes of Cece Jewellery. “The large blank canvas of a signet ring offers up so much space for storytelling, which I believe the world is craving during these uncertain times.”
Fein Hughes takes the canvas description literally, using enamels to paint tiny, whimsical scenes — often highly personal to her clients — onto her gold signets.
Katherine Jetter’s new collection, Lady of the Rings, swaps ancestry for friendship. The seven gold rings have etched designs within a frame of baguette diamonds to symbolize the different personalities among groups of women, such as the seductive-but-deadly siren and the straight-shooting archer.
Other quirky designs include Roxanne First’s smiley signet, which can be flipped to communicate a happy or sad mood, and Alison Lou’s CeLoubration pinky rings with tongue-in-cheek pictograms symbolizing love. Whether they’re wild or simply sport a splash of color or an ostentatious flash of diamond pavé, modern genderless signet rings are jubilant pledges of allegiance to ourselves.
Main image: Ad Ornem