signet ring for men

Signature style: Why every modern man should own a signet ring

09 Aug 2023 | |By Zoe Gunn

No longer just a dusty family heirloom, the contemporary signet ring has become a style statement in its own right

All products are chosen independently by our editors. Luxury London may earn commission on items purchased.

Signet rings: whether or not you own one probably depends not on your own style sensibilities but rather, that of your father, grandfather or even great-grandfather. “Historically, gentlemen would wear this type of ring to imprint their insignia into wax on an official document, essentially acting as their signature (hence the name),” explains Anna Williams of jewellery brand Tateossian. “In the modern era, of course, your signature can usually be found under the phrase “Kind regards”, making this practical use of a signet ring obsolete.”

And yet the style has persisted, with a new crop of contemporary, independent designers putting their own twist on the genre. On the one hand, argues Michael Saiger, CEO and owner of Miansai, this could be precisely because of the design’s history and its connotations. “They have emotional value,” he says. “Signets are those pieces that are passed down through generations, making them heirloom accessories that hold profound, familial meaning to the wearer.”

What, then, explains the resurgence among those of us without a family crest? “The relative simplicity of a signet ring is what continues to make it a must-have accessory for both men and women,” explains Maxim de Turckheim, Senior Buyer of Luxury Watches & Jewellery at Mr Porter, going on to say that the modern trend is not for classic engraving but more fashion-forward embellishment. “We have definitely seen a move towards designers encrusting them with stones. We recently launched some really fun ones from Parisian designer Yvonne Leon, who used a huge seven-carat smoky quartz in a very geometric Art Deco shape – it has fast become a best seller.”

And, while the traditional placement on the pinkie finger remains popular, with both Saiger and De Turckheim arguing for pairing simply with a watch and cuff, Williams notes a move towards the OTT. “With the return of the maximalist trend, we have seen men wearing stacks of rings on every finger, and we find a signet ring fits well in this aesthetic, too – they really are a great all-round piece to have in your collection for any occasion.”

Yet to find your perfect piece? Allow us to inspire you with our pick of the best signet rings to buy now.

Tateossian ceramic signet ring

“We pride ourselves on the innovation, creativity and quality of our designs, so we create collections where any man can find something to represent his personality – from minimalist sterling silver to chunky casings with bright apatite stones,” says Williams of Tateossian’s array of men’s jewellery. When it comes to signet rings, however, it is the former that’s caught our eye in the form of this sleek black ceramic and onyx design. This is jewellery for men who don’t do jewellery.

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Hatton Labs Ocaen signet ring

Designed in London and manufactured in Veneto, Italy, Hatton Labs draws on the heritage and craftsmanship of its namesake location, but with every piece given a fresh, edgy upgrade. Its signet ring offering is vast but this Ocean design, featuring a traditional square face and sterling silver construction, is a standout thanks to its eye-catching blue-and-white resin detail.

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Yvonne Léon diamond and malachite ring

Inspired by vintage styles found in markets across the globe, all of Yvonne Léon’s pieces exude a sophisticated, old-school charm that perfectly befits the classical styling of a signet ring. Léon’s updated take is finished with a slither of bold green malachite punctuated by a solitaire white diamond. Charming.

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Miansai Geo ring

How has Miansai brought the signet ring into the 21st Century? “By adding gems,” says Saiger. He namechecks the ‘70s-inspired Lennox Jasper ring and enamelled Square Step ring as his favourites but, for us, it’s the chic simplicity of the Geo ring that wins out. Featuring a low-profile rectangular silhouette and a single diamond, it still leaves room for personalisation. The perfect compromise.

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Pyrrha New Beginnings signet ring

No family crest? No problem. Named after a figure from Greek mythology, and with collections inspired by Victorian wax seals, the brand’s talismanic jewellery is imbued with more than enough symbology and meaning. Take, for example, this 14k recycled yellow-gold signet ring. Featuring a crescent moon set on a plate of black ceramic, it’s evocative of new beginnings and boasts a vintage feel you could easily pass off as a generational hand-me-down.

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Bleue Burnham Hanging Basket signet ring

Modern men know bling isn’t best left for the girls anymore and one such cosmopolitan gent is Bleue Burnham: the British jeweller whose eponymous brand does a brilliant line in artfully embellished signet rings. Formerly Head of Sustainability at Oliver Spencer, all Burnham’s pieces are crafted with eco and ethical consciousness in mind, hence the lab-grown multi-coloured sapphires on this textured signet ring.

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Maple Floral signet ring

If you’re a fan of the finer things in life, and since you’re reading about high-end signet rings it’s safe to assume you are, Maple’s Floral design is bound to speak to you. This black enamel-filled ring features a distinct art deco floral pattern crafted in sterling silver – the perfect addition to your everyday wardrobe.

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J Dauphin Memento Mori signet ring

If you’re looking for a modern ring that isn’t completely devoid of history, turn to Los Angeles-based brand J Dauphin. Inspired by Memento Mori, the medieval religious practice which translates as ‘remember that you have to die’ and encouraged followers to reject the vanity of earthly life and focus on preparing their souls for heaven, there is, admittedly, some irony in deploying white gold and diamonds to create a signet ring to embody it. Still, when the results look like this, we’re sure the Big Man upstairs will understand.

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Seb Brown Smiley ring

Handmade in Australia, Seb Brown is known for putting his home country’s laidback, irreverent spin on classic designs. A case in point: This unisex Smiley ring, featuring a childlike face etched into 9k yellow gold. So much more fun than an ancient family emblem, don’t you think?

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