Everything You Need to Know About Signet Rings

 

Traditionally, a signet ring was a symbol of family heritage. Many of the first versions of this ring bore the family crest or coat of arms. The image was engraved into the ring in reverse so that it could be pressed into hot wax or soft clay and used to seal a document. The recipient of the document would know that it was authentic because of the symbol in the wax.

Signet rings go by many names, including “seal rings” because of their function to seal letters, as well as a “gentleman’s ring” because it was often worn by the male heirs in the family. In modern times, both men and women wear signet rings.

Modern Signet Rings

In the past, signet rings were only worn by those in the upper class, so they were often associated with elitism. Today, anyone can have a signet ring. Many people still decide to have their family crests engraved into the ring, but this isn’t the only option. It’s also possible to get your initials or any other picture you like included in the ring.

Currently, some rings are worn to symbolize membership in a club. The most common wearers of signet rings include Freemasons or military personnel, who wears rings that symbolize their rank or what branch of the military they are in. As these rings grow in popularity, people are wearing them every day with their outfits or using them as wedding rings.

 

How to Recognize a Signet Ring

Despite the fact that signet rings can come in many shapes and sizes and include a crest, initials or other photo, there are some common traits that set these apart from other rings. More often than not, they have a flat bezel and a design is engraved in intaglio, which means that it is raised and can leave an impression if pressed into wax or other soft materials.

While these two traits have to be present to make the ring a signet ring, determining the design, size and shape will be up to your personal preference and style. Some of the most common shapes include the following:

  • Oxford Oval – the most traditional and popular shape for signet rings
  • Round – a more contemporary and modern option
  • Marquise – gives the ring a more sophisticated and elegant shape
  • Cushion – this is a square-shaped ring that was popular during the Victorian era

 

How to Wear a Signet Ring

Traditionally, signet rings were worn on the pinkie finger of a person’s non-dominant hand. This would make it easier to use it for its intended purpose, which was sealing a document. Today, many people still abide by this rule, but not everyone does.

There are no longer any hard and fast rules when it comes to wearing a signet ring, so you are allowed to wear it on the finger that feels most comfortable. As mentioned, some people where them as wedding rings, so they will be found on the ring finger of their left hand. Others wear them on their middle or first finger.

Signet rings are often worn to make a bold statement or show off heritage. They add something unique and special to your style, whether you wear them for special occasions or every day.

 

By hand, by heart, and always true

A Story of Making

By Hand

Each Waxing Poetic design begins and ends, quite literally, by hand.

By Hand? Really? Yes.

All our designs start by hand. As in drawn, sketched, outlined, doodled, painted (really, it has happened more than once) or even described with words, written out or otherwise rendered by hand, on the drawing board. Or notebook. Or sometimes sketchbook. Or even possibly a napkin. Or tablet. Or iPad. Whatever it is, we draw it out first.  Once we like where a concept is going, we refine the design and send it to our dear friends and artisans in Bali.

By Heart

In addition to being one of the most overwhelmingly beautiful places in all the world, Bali is a jewelry designer’s dreamland, home to a tradition of metalsmithing that can be traced back centuries, if not a millenium. Silversmithing is a revered practice and valued trade, and most artisans come from families who have been part of the practice for generations. There is an implicit poetry to the work — from carving detailed designs into wax to casting pieces to painstaking attention to detail in finishing a design that was apparent to us from our very first collaboration. We are honored to have our designs felt, understood, and translated into being by such beautiful spirits. Balinese silversmiths, or “pandai parak” in Indonesian, are incredibly skilled and internationally regarded as some of the most dextrous, gifted silver artisans in the world. The term “pandai” itself reflects this truth — it translates as both a noun (metalsmith) and a host of adjectives (clever, skillful, gifted, proficient, resourceful, ingenious and versed, to name a few), and their work itself is proof.

Speaking of proof, ‘proof’ is another word for a prototype or sample design. The proof-process feels pretty magical on our end. We send concepts and drawings digitally across the globe and a few weeks later, wonderful little packages containing realized jewelry dreams arrive. What happens in between though is even more magical — designs literally become jewelry with the help of many sets of hands and hearts.

There’s an old saying that wax, as a material, always tells the truth. It makes sense — wax impressions catch uncanny details, early sound recording technology relied on wax, and wax document seals were the standard of trust for centuries. Waxing Poetic isn’t just our name, in a way, it describes the very process by which our designs become.

Once a Waxing Poetic design arrives in Bali, it soon makes its way to artisan wax carvers, who interpret the 2D rendering into wax with precision tools , translating and our lines and shapes into physical reality. Next, casting artisans take over, a cast gets made, molten Silver poured, cooled, and then the piece is almost ready. Another team of wondrous people refine the next phase of work, adding proprietary treatments which give Waxing Poetic jewelry its particular and recognizable finish, and then, with great care, each new piece is gently wrapped and sent back to California for inspection and approval. Sometimes a proof sample is everything we hoped for in one go, other times we open a package and realize an idea needs to evolve before it makes its entrance as a finished piece of Waxing Poetic jewelry.

We trust our artisans implicity, and work together in joyous community to realize our creations. It literally takes a village (if not more accurately a few) to make our jewelry, and we hope the hearts and hands who help make it possible resonate with every piece.

International Women’s Day

 

Waxing Poetic is a company founded by women and inspired by women, and we’re always on board for International Women’s Day, and to celebrate who we are in the balance equation.

In our business, it is an absolute honor to employ and and collaborate with women the world over, especially our beautiful Balinese cohorts, with whom we have been working for almost 20 years.

Head over to our Story today to meet some of these soul-sisters and heroines who balance motherhood, artistry, and a dedication to their communities. They join us on the daily in bringing Waxing Poetic pieces to life in a way no one else ever could.

Everyone benefits from gender balance — (not just our girls) and we are HERE. FOR. ALL. OF. IT.

Celebrating #InternationalWomen’sDay2019  #BalanceforBetter 

#motherswhobalance #creativeswhobalance #bosseswhobalance #beautyinbalance #lovetobalance #IWD19 #internationalwomensday

 


Balance is an ongoing quest. Coffee helps.
#waxingpoetic
#balanceforbetter

 


Balance is independence.
#waxingpoetic
#balanceforbetter

 


Balance is having a safe work environment where her co-workers feel like family.
#waxingpoetic
#balanceforbetter

 


Balance is a steady wage
#waxingpoetic
#balanceforbetter

 


Balance is having the opportunity to help provide for her family.
#waxingpoetic
#balanceforbetter

 


Balance is a beautiful thing.
#waxingpoetic
#balanceforbetter

Little Goes Far Violet Collection

We’ve been in love with violets for a long time. Their shape, their associated symbolism (memory, devotion, faithfulness, innocence, emotional depth, empathy, and spiritual yearning) , and the fact that they’re probably the most irrefutably feminine of flowers (sorry peonies, we love you too) would be enough to inspire us, but when we read poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman’s book Natural History of the Senses and learned that violets have an almost magical quality that distinguishes them from all other flowers, we got swoony. Simply put — nature gave violets a unique and memorable gift — there is a chemical property in violets that causes a delay in human scent perception. When you smell a violet, your brain can’t process it for a few seconds, and so every time you inhale their fragrance, you are actually inhaling a memory.

We hope these little wearable reminders, like the violets which inspired them, go far and long in your hearts and memory.

Save The Elephants

Launching next month: #BeeSaved –  a Give-back collection to benefit Save the Elephants 

“I traveled to the Masai Mara, Kenya last year,  and my time spent observing the elephants, and visiting the fine folks at Save the Elephants in Nairobi, left an indelible mark on me.  Their Elephants and Bees project specifically inspired me, and I knew I wanted to try to tell the story of the positive impact of a project like this on the human/elephant  conflict crisis.” – Founder Patti Pagliei

Next month, we’ll launch two designs that we hope will bring awareness to the project, and resonate with our customers, conservationists, elephant lovers and advocates beyond. See a sneak peek below.

Bee Saved – Elephant Charm
Bee Saved – Elephant Pendant