If Instagram has ever targeted you with a jewelry ad, you may have developed a renewed appreciation for the signet ring, a piece originally used as a form of identification and authentication.
“Early examples featured stones carved with a design unique to the owner,” said jewelry historian Elizabeth Doyle, who co-owns antique jewelry boutique Doyle and Doyle in New York City. “When pressed into clay or wax, this would be used in place of a signature on important contracts or documents. They were also used as a way to seal containers to ensure the contents were not tampered with.”
Today, signet rings are more about fashion than function. They’re still engraved, sometimes with initials, sometimes with stones and designs. Doyle calls them “one of the most enduring styles of jewelry,” noting they date back to ancient Egyptian times. Plus, they just look plain cool.
In that vein, a signet ring is a solid investment ― and there are plenty of pricey options out there. But for those not looking to find a family heirloom, there are also many budget-friendlier finds.
Below, 11 gorgeous signet rings of all shapes, sizes and price points.
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