Seal & Signet Rings

Seals have been used throughout history to show personal imprints, act as markings of authenticity and binding agreements and edicts.
In past eras, Signet rings were worn by Kings, Popes, Bishops, Roman Emperors and other high ranking church officials and noblemen as a sign of their nobility, importance and power. Probably the most famous religious signet ring in the world, today, is worn by the Pope.
His 'Sacred Seal' ring is called the "Fisherman's Ring", a massive and ornate gold seal ring, which denotes the seal of his authority. Upon the Pope's death, the Cardinals break his ring and a new signet ring is created for each new succeeding Pope.

A related practice is found among blacksmiths: their touchmark (a stamp used on the hot metal to show who made it) is destroyed upon their death.

Although rarely used today for impressing wax onto a document, Seals are still very popular. Seal Engraved Signet Rings, are worn by family members wishing to proudly wear their heritage and family history. Engraved with your crest or coat of arms, the Seal Engraved Signet Ring, meticulously sculpted or carved by skilled Jewellery Men craftsmen, is an iconic piece of jewellery that will immortalise your family's cherished history.

A signet ring has always distinguished an individual as one of high social standing, a privilege, a military distinction and a rich ornament, or seal marking the dignity and importance of its wearer, thus providing a visual and symbolic "certification" which validated acts executed in their name.
In other words they provided a visual "Plumbline of Authenticity" proving that the wearer was not only truly who he said he was, but they symbolized his power in the community. The theft of a signet ring was punishable by death.

While originally only worn by royalty, religious officials and noblemen, as time passed, tradesmen and merchants, too began wearing these rings. While royal signet rings were lavishly decorated with precious metals, rich enamels and gems of every color and facet, the tradesmen and merchants' signet rings had mottos or logos cut into them.

Seals were used in the earliest civilizations. In ancient Mesopotamia seals were engraved on cylinders, which could be rolled to create an impression on clay, such as a label on a consignment of trade goods. From Ancient Egypt seals in the form of signet-rings of kings have been found.

From the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC until the Dark Ages, seals of various kinds were in production in the Aegean islands and mainland Greece. The Late Bronze Age is the time par excellence of the lens-shaped seal and the seal ring, which continued in to the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods, in the form of pictorial engraved gems. Engraved gems continued to be produced and collected until the 19th century.

During the early Middle Ages seals of lead were in common use both in East and West, but these leaden authentications soon went out of favour in western Christendom and it became the universal practice to take the impressions in wax.

The signet- a small seal dating from the reign of Edward II (1307-27) until 1851 was required to seal every warrant of the privy seal or great seal. Ever since the middle ages signets were used by those entitled with a grant to bear heraldic arms, as a seal authorising orders or 'sealing' letters to authenticate the bearer. This is why this genre of Jewellery Men rings are respectfully labelled Heraldic Rings.

Signets and Seals became the distinguishing mark of legal stamping and authentication behind business, law and governing for over 600 years. Their presence is felt today even in common parlance "set one's seal on" - authorise, give one's approval to or "signed sealed and delivered" - this idiom referring to a legal deed.

Gold signet rings became increasingly popular from the 17th century onwards as the ultimate, portable mark of distinction. By the 18th century the signet ring (or fob signet for ladies) became more widely used as the means to seal letters, even those of a more lighthearted or personal nature.

Seals and Signets became more elaborate with the introduction of gemstones set in Gold. Engraving also became more precise and artistically challenging to cope with the much harder materials. Seal engraving became a true art form in its own right and remains no less so today, as evidenced in some of the exquisite creations in The Regnas Collection.

Most classical engraved gems were originally worn as signet rings, thereby inspiring the wide spectrum of gemstones used in The Regnas Collection which includes Lapis Lazuli, Rock Crystal, Amethyst, Red Agate, Jade Albite, Rhodonite, Jade, Bloodstone and Black Onyx, among others.

Signet rings are also used as a souvenir or membership attribute, such as a class ring ( which typically bears the coat of arms or crest of the school). The Masonic ring is a fine example of this, with many designs in the The Regnas Collection Heraldic Rings gallery for your selection.

Pompey: (106-48 B.C.) Pompey's signet ring displayed a lion bearing a sword. This Roman politician, Gnaeus Pompeis Magnus, better known as Pompey, was one of the greatest generals of his time.

Julius Caesar: (circa July 12/13, 102/100 B.C. - March 15, 44 B.C.): His ring had an armed Venus.

Caesar Augustus: (63 B.C. - 14 C.E.) His signet ring had first a sphinx, then the head of Alexander the Great, and finally he placed his own image on his signet ring. Rome achieved great glory under Emperor Octavian/Augustus.

Nero (37 AD - 68 AD) was the 5th and last of the Julio/Claudian dyanasty of Roman Emperors. His reputation is as an ineffectual, neglectful and brutal leader. His signet ring represented the flaying of Marsyas by Apollo.

Michelangelo, (1475-1564)
The face of Michelangelo's signet ring contained a carving of a segment of the Sistine Chapel.

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