The secrets of signet rings : the exhaustive guide by Holemans

27.03.2024 / Tips & tricks

Signet rings are symbolic and aesthetic pieces which, since ancient Egypt, have embodied the family identity of those who wear them. Dive into the world of this significant piece of jewellery and learn some forgotten codes, a few tips on how to wear them and discover the signet rings custom-made by our Jewellery House

Origin and history

The signet ring is first and foremost a derivative of the word "chevalier" (knight) and has its origins in the expression "à la manière des chevaliers" (in the manner of knights) to symbolise the title or noble lineage of its wearer.

From the 19th century onwards, the coats of arms of noble families were engraved on this ring to represent authority, social status and a personal signature being used to seal letters with wax by affixing the seal to official documents.

Although it has become a fashion accessory, the signet ring with coat of arms still retains its identity and social significance, symbolising commitment and belonging to a community in contemporary society.

How should you wear your signet ring ?

If you have a signet ring, pay attention to how it is worn. The codes of the nobility, in terms of wearing a signet ring, represent the honour of the family and are therefore codified. Some discerning eyes may read a meaning in this.

The way a signet ring is worn varies according to country, gender and era. In the Middle Ages, it was worn on the left ring finger as a sign of distinction to show the knight's commitment.

Today, in Belgium and France, men can wear their signet ring on the left ring finger (with the wedding ring if they are married), but only if they are the eldest sibling. If you are the youngest, the ring is worn on the little finger of the right hand.

Women wear their signet ring on the little finger. The choice of hand is up to the wearer. However, a woman can also wear the ring on her ring finger. History tells us that the finger on which a woman's signet ring is worn depends on a family tradition.

As for the direction of the coat of arms, if you are single, it is preferable that it be worn in a 'hand kiss', facing the nail. If you are engaged or married, the coat of arms should be 'en bataille', facing the wearer. This is how the hand kiss came into its own: a discreet glance was all that was needed for introductions at balls and social occasions, revealing the family and status of the person concerned.

Signet rings from Maison Holemans

For many of our customers, we forge our signet rings, sometimes classic, sometimes more original, which we make in gold or platinum.

The table of a signet ring can be made of gold or set with a stone. In the latter case, for symbolic, traditional or aesthetic reasons, you can opt for a precious stone such as a sapphire or ruby, or a fine stone such as black onyx, Nicolo blue agate or carnelian, which are the stones most commonly used to engrave the escutcheon.

The "double table" signet ring by Manalys

Our second company, Manalys Jewellers, set out to create an innovative signet ring that would preserve the history of each family. With this in mind, we have designed a signet ring with 2 tables, arranged on opposite sides of the ring. This revisited signet ring allows you to engrave your family coat of arms or that of your wife or husband, and to wear the ring on whichever side you prefer.

Don't hesitate to visit our boutique if you'd like to discover the double table signet ring. We also make other styles of signet rings, with initials, a symbol or any other ideas you may have.

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