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Signet rings with aristocratic past are making a comeback as modern heirlooms

For thousands of years, signet rings have been a significant piece of jewellery symbolising power and status symbol.

With its roots tracing back to the Ancient Egyptians where Pharaohs would wear cylindrical versions of the ring with hieroglyphics engraved on them, signets have been synonymous with heritage, lineage and influence. Also known as the “gentlemen’s ring”, they were primarily worn by aristocratic men and were always one of a kind. With each bearing a family’s coat of arms/crest on them, they were often used to stamp documents and seal letters. Once its rightful owner died, the ring would then be destroyed to prevent any sort of forgery. Talk about being steeped in history.

Signet rings
David Yurman Evil Eye collection

Fast forward to the present day, these rings are no longer reserved for nobility and certainly not for men anymore. With the rise of gender-fluid fashion, signet rings have become very popular among women, too. Scroll through the Instagram feed of multiple fashion influencers (even Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wears one) – you’ll see them everywhere! And of course, who can forget the frenzy Meghan Markle created when she was spotted wearing Missoma’s Rs 9,000 open heart signet ring. “They’re still slightly unexpected on women, and that sets you apart immediately. And the whole personalisation angle makes them even more meaningful in their reclamation of power. Because they were always personalised jewels, attached to a family name, for women to stamp them with their own initial(s), it bears certain completeness,” says Natasha Khurana, founder of popular Indian jewellery label, The Line.

Signet rings
Outhouse gunmetal piece

Although this trend for women has emerged only recently, it is here to stay. “Alongside the daily neck stack and arm candy, the style is that piece you can throw on every day, so it becomes an extension of you. And I love the way it can add personal flair to any contemporary wardrobe,” explains Natasha Jethwani, founder of Dubai based label Vik Jet Fine Jewelry. “The individuality of these rings is what makes them so special, and if you invest well, you will have a piece that lasts you a lifetime,” she adds.

Modern reinterpretations of pinky rings have made them extremely fashion-forward whilst remaining timeless at the same time. “We designed our versions of the signet –- one in plain polished gold and the other set with an onyx –- as part of our very first collection in 2015. And they’re still going strong,” quips Khurana. And we can’t disagree. Whether you choose a mini version to stack with other rings — something chunky like Misho’s numerology ring, a classic option from Tiffany & Co, something playful like Bil Arabi’s collection made from colourful enamel with gold or Gucci’s maximalist designs – the options are plenty. For those who prefer something custom-made, a family jeweller is a place to go. “These rings hold great sentimental value, and if they are set with birthstones or personal engravings, these could easily become precious family heirlooms. We love bringing these to life for our clients,” says Jethwani.

The best part, they no longer need to be worn on the pinky finger as they used to be back “in the day”. You can have fun with them. We take you through our edit of some of our favourite signet rings in the market that are as trendy as modern heirlooms. Oh, and they’re suited for all budgets!


Shop here:

Vik Jet Fine Jewelry – Crafted in Gold with Emeralds & Diamonds + Champagne Diamonds & Diamonds on the other one
Gucci – Crystal Embellished Ring in distressed Silver with GG logo engraved on the side
Missoma – Open Heart in 18k Gold Vermeil on Sterling Silver with white cubic zirconia
Bil Arabi – “Al Hobb” 18k Yellow Gold & Enamel
Outhouse – Protego Signet Ring in Gunmetal
David Yurman – 18K yellow gold Cable Collectibles Evil Eye Sapphire and Diamond Mini Pinky Ring
Tiffany & Co. – Micro Heart in 18k Gold
The Line – Remember Remember in 18k gold
Stone and Strand – Alphabet Mini Pinky gold ring
Wilhelmina Garcia – Gold Vermeil Clover Signet Ring
Misho – Numerology Gold Plated in Sterling Silver

Signet rings with aristocratic past are making a comeback as modern heirlooms

Hanadi Merchant-Habib

A girl with an unhealthy obsession with Gucci shoes, Hanadi loves anything and everything fashion. A fashion writer by profession, she’s also addicted to working out at her favourite studio, Physique 57. In her spare time, she’s usually hanging out with her kids, which often includes playing dress up!

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