Sunday Brunch: Signets!

August 23, 2020
Dear friends,

This week we've got an illustrated history of one of the current hottest trends in jewelry- the signet ring! Signets are a millennia old style that had many functions throughout history, and are as relevant today as they ever were. We are excited to share some of our favorite pieces to show how these rings have evolved over the years.

For brunch today we recommend pancakes made in the shape of your initials, or hey if you have a waffle iron that stamps your monogram that's even better.
 This Week: Signets
 The first signet rings were used in Ancient Egypt to stamp documents with wax as a form of signature (hence the name!). The rings were unique to their owners and were used to ensure the authenticity of the documents they marked.

This ring is a vintage version of the style of signet that would have been worn in ancient Egypt! This one, assayed in Arabic, spells out "Khufu," the pharaoh who is believed to have commissioned the Great Pyramid of Giza.
1989-90 Sterling Silver Egyptian Cartouche Ring $95
With the development of heraldry in the Middle Ages, signet rings gained rapidly in popularity, and everyone who was anyone had one. Designs often centered around a family crest but would include a mark to indicate the specific individual the ring belonged to.

We get signets in the shop in all variety of materials, and with either plain metal or a stone for the engraved surface. They can come to us both marked and blank, so you can either get lucky and find a vintage engraving that is meaningful to you, or make your own mark on a piece with a custom personalized engraving! Below are examples of two rings, both from the same era and in the same materials, one marked and one blank- imagine the possibilities!

c. 1910 Victorian 14k Gold "H" Monogram Sardonyx Ring $950

c. 1890 Victorian 14k Rose Gold Sardonyx Ring, Unworn and Unengraved $895
Signets were also a popular choice in baby rings. Victorians viewed children as tiny adults, and as such babies wore jewelry to match their grown counterparts. These days, Victorian baby rings make perfect pinky rings or midi rings for 21st century adults.
Top: c. 1880 Engraved 14k Rose Gold Ring $375
Middle: c. 1890 Unengraved 9k Gold Heart Ring $425
Bottom: c. 1890 Unengraved 9k Rose Gold Ring
c.1880 14k Gold Watch Fob with Unengraved Onyx on Grosgrain Ribbon $850

14k Gold Victorian Seal Fob with Bloodstone $1,100
c. 1860 Early Victorian Silver and Bloodstone Seal Fob $295
 Over the centuries signet rings have moved away from their practical purpose and have become simply a symbol of status and belonging. From school rings, to family rings, to Masonic rings, the style screams "I am a part of something bigger than myself," no matter what that something is. This is so true, that even the signet style with a blank face implies power, and ever since the mid-20th century unmarked pieces have also been popular fashion statements.

Late 40s Early 50s 18k gold Unengraved Signet ring Italy $895

70s 14k Gold Ankh Ring $395

c. 1915 Art Nouveau Sterling Silver Onyx Ring with Gothic "T" Monogram $295

20s 14k White Gold Filigree with Black Onyx Ring $725

60s 18k Gold Lapis Lazuli Ring $695

1915 10k Gold High School Football Ring $295

c. 1870 Sterling Silver Signet Ring with Cable Link Shank, Hand Engraved "Frank & Sarah" $395


c. 1840 15k Gold English Signet Ring $995

Signets were also popular purchases for soldiers abroad during WWII, with rings like this often bought while soldiers were on leave.
40s 14k Gold "JS" Monogrammed Ring with Lion and Lioness on Shank and a Diamond Accent $795
All items in our Sunday Brunch collections are available for purchase! If you are interested in a piece you've seen, just reply to this email for details on how to buy.

Let us know how you liked this deep dive, more narrative style of newsletter, compared to our usual fun facts and pretty pictures set up! Until next time Happy Brunching!

Stylishly yours,

Lara and the team