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Signet Rings

The people of Mesopotamia were probably the first to use signet rings starting around the year 3500 B.C. Initially, softer materials like ivory and softer gemstones were used in signet rings, but as technology progressed, harder stones were also used.

Signet rings were usually engraved with a crest in a mirror image. The ring was pressed in hot wax to officiate documents relating to trade and politics, and this crest was engraved in either the gold of the ring itself or in a semi-precious gemstone that was set into the stone.

Today, people don’t need signet rings for that specific purpose, yet the ring is still very popular. For men, it is a very accepted piece of jewelry to own next to their watch and wedding ring. The crest is often replaced by engraved initials or a faceted or cabochon (semi-precious) stone.

Although usually worn on the ring finger opposite the hand with the wedding band, some men prefer to wear their signet ring on their pinky. Therefore, a signet ring is sometimes also referred to as a "pinky ring."


Quick Facts

  • When a new pope is selected, a signet ring is made especially for him, depicting Saint Peter in a fishing boat and the pope’s name. Although he doesn’t use his ring to officiate documents anymore, one of the first things that is done after his death is still to destroy the ring
  • Signet rings were always passed on from father to son when he took “reign” of the family. This tradition is still held in some families
  • One very prominent man who wears his signet ring on his pinky is Prince Charles of Wales

Recommended Items at Auction

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Antique 14K Sorority Signet Gold Ring
Oct 26, 6:00 PM EDT
Antique 14K Sorority Signet Gold Ring
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$14013 Bids
Silver signet with corkscrew, 2nd h. 19th century
Oct 28, 11:00 AM CEST
Silver signet with corkscrew, 2nd h. 19th century
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €200- €800
€2001 Bid
Gents 9ct rose gold square Signet ring - black enamel pattern set with smal
Oct 24, 7:00 PM AEDT
Gents 9ct rose gold square Signet ring - black enamel pattern set with smal
by The Collector
Est: AUD80- AUD160
AUD601 Bid
RING / signet ring
Oct 22, 6:00 PM CEST
RING / signet ring
by Auktionshaus Rheine
Est: €320- €360
€3000 Bids
Signet, France approx. 1900, 800 silver
Oct 28, 11:00 AM CEST
Signet, France approx. 1900, 800 silver
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €140- €560
€1200 Bids
Gents signet ring, silver 925
Oct 28, 11:00 AM CEST
Gents signet ring, silver 925
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €160- €640
€1600 Bids
Silver signet, France approx. 1900
Oct 28, 11:00 AM CEST
Silver signet, France approx. 1900
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €140- €560
€1200 Bids
Signet, 18.Jh., iron/brass
Oct 28, 11:00 AM CEST
Signet, 18.Jh., iron/brass
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €160- €640
€1600 Bids
Siegelring, RG 585, Heliotrop-Plakette mit Wappenintaglio, 3 g, RM 16.5
Oct 29, 12:00 PM CEST
Siegelring, RG 585, Heliotrop-Plakette mit Wappenintaglio, 3 g, RM 16.5
by Auktionshaus Plückbaum
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids
A gold onyx and diamond signet ring,
Oct 27, 10:00 AM BST
A gold onyx and diamond signet ring,
by Sworders
Est: £70- £90
£500 Bids
A 9ct gold signet ring,
Oct 27, 10:00 AM BST
A 9ct gold signet ring,
by Sworders
Est: £100- £150
£800 Bids
DOMINIQUE ALONZO (act. 1910-1930), SIGNET "NURSE"
Oct 26, 7:00 PM WEST
DOMINIQUE ALONZO (act. 1910-1930), SIGNET "NURSE"
by Renascimento
Est: €150- €250
€1500 Bids
Signet ring with a coin on the front with plant mo…
Oct 28, 5:00 PM CEST
Signet ring with a coin on the front with plant mo…
by Subastas Segre
Est: €150- €225
€1500 Bids
Signet ring with coin on the front in 18K yellow g…
Oct 28, 5:00 PM CEST
Signet ring with coin on the front in 18K yellow g…
by Subastas Segre
Est: €150- €225
€1500 Bids
24ct Yellow Gold and White Stone Signet Ring
Oct 23, 11:00 AM BST
24ct Yellow Gold and White Stone Signet Ring
by Cooper Barrington LLP
Est: £250- £300
£1200 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Signet Rings


Henry's Auktionshaus AG

Henry's Auktionshaus AG

Sworders

Sworders

Subastas Segre

Subastas Segre

Mebane Antique Auction

Mebane Antique Auction