Style

The Beauty of Signet Rings

Signet Rings

Do you have any jewelry staples? Our new editorial assistant, Franny (more on her soon!), wears two signet rings. “I don’t feel like myself if I forget to wear them,” she says. “My mom gave me one with my initials when I turned 16, and the other was from my grandma when I graduated from Smith. Both are sweet reminders of where I’m from.” They’re beautiful, understated and always a conversation starter.

Here are five pretty options: custom, silhouette, modern, heart and heirloom.

Thoughts? Wouldn’t it be lovely for best friends to wear each other’s initials? Or to wear your children’s?

P.S. Gold earrings and pretty necklaces.

(Photo by Stella Blackmon for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Mary Alice says...

    A Smithie! I started reading Cup of Jo at Mount Holyoke and I wear my signet ring from MHC every day. Love women’s college. And Caroline’s in the club, too!

  2. Kate Connors says...

    The only piece of jewelry I wear every day is my college signet ring from William and Mary. I love the tradition and though it was a bit of a splurge, I love when see fellow alums wearing them. It feels like a connection and a secret, inside sign of belonging to a group of people and a place I loved so much, even now when I live thousands of miles away.

  3. Margo Crofford says...

    I am the third generation of ‘Margarets’ to wear my gold signet ring with an ‘M’ engraved on the top with engraved lions heads on either side. It is so unique and special. My daughter, Sarah Margaret, will wear it someday… I love this connection between generations!

  4. Susie says...

    Growing up I found my dads signet ring in a box of treasures. I started wearing it at about 14 and wore it until I was about 24. I then placed it in my own box of treasures. My 15 year old has since discovered it and is wearing it every day, along with a gold coin necklace that once belonged to my Nana. It’s lovely to see her treasure such things. The initials on the signet ring are very worn but that adds to the story. I considered buying her her own for her 16th but love that she has this one instead.

  5. Mary says...

    I own a signet ring inherited from a long passed away aunt that I wear on occasion and love. Some years ago a local independent shop was selling silver plated jewelry and I planned to order a large ‘face’, initial engraved, silver signet ring for my traditional ring finger. The owner suggested and talked me into sizing it to my index (forefinger) as it would be more bold and different. I’m so happy I did! It’s fun to wear and I think of that shop owner every time I put it on. Great posts on here!

  6. Kerry says...

    I purchased the Mejuri ring for Christmas and sadly, every time I wear my ring it stains my finger.

    • Lauren says...

      Try painting the inside of the ring with a little clear nail polish!

  7. Tara says...

    There is a Lower East Side Parsons grad jewelry designer, Kylie Nakao, whose gorgeously designed signet rings are on her website tarinthomas.com… beautiful work by a local talent!

    • Rachel says...

      Her stuff is gorgeous! As an LES resident, I’m even more excited to make a purchase!

  8. I love when jewellery has special meaning like this 💚💚

  9. Shelby Savage Gibson says...

    I don’t wear a signet ring but my class ring from graduate school is signet-y. I bought it for myself when I landed my first job out of grad school – I was/am very proud to be a graduate of the school that I attended and now that I work here it seemed like a very traditional right of passage. A lot of my older colleagues who are also alums have them and it’s a fun unspoken club to be a part of.

  10. Hi Jo, you are such an inspiration! I have also created a blog and would love if you could take a look at it.

  11. edie says...

    One of the great mysteries of the online world right now is, quite simply, WHO IS FRANNY?! :)

    Excited to learn more.

  12. beautiful rings, i almost bought one from a different brand the other day and now wish i did!

    Leslie

  13. Beth Goshin says...

    We renewed our vows and I bought a signet ring to commerate the occasion. Coincidentally, my initials and our first names are the same so it signifies both of us and also me. I wear it as my wedding ring.

  14. Rachel Elizabeth says...

    My brother has never been a big jewelry or style person. But, when my grandfather passed away a few years ago, my grandmother asked each of us grandkids if we would like a piece of our “Pop Pop’s” clothing or jewelry to keep. His signet ring happened to fit my brother’s finger perfectly and my brother has never taken it it off since that day. It is always moving to me to see a simple visual reminder of my Pop Pop and legacy he leaves behind each time I see my brother.

  15. C. says...

    I love to look at jewelry, and I love these signet rings. I have been wanting one for a while….just waiting for the right moment I guess. Thanks for sharing the photo and resources, and I am really enjoying the stories in the comments.

  16. Alyssa says...

    I have a small simple one I wear daily and love! Although mine is uniquely blank. My husband found it at a vintage market right after I miscarried our first baby. We thought the symbolism of a space held empty for the baby without a name poignant and sweet. I have cherished it ever since.

    • Lucy says...

      tearing up at my desk, how beautiful and poetic.

    • Kat says...

      This is so beautiful. Most of my jewellery has a special significance and I wear it to remind myself of my sisters, family and husband and every time I look at it or touch it, I think of them. I feel like it’s a talisman. I miscarried two babies and I’m going to get something for them too. What a lovely thought. Thank you and love to you.

    • Jen says...

      I also bought a signet ring after my miscarriage. It was by a small brand called Momento Mori (‘Remember that you have to die’ in Latin), which seems depressing but it just felt right. The design was an eagle, which reminded me of the scripture that talks about those who hope in the Lord will soar like eagles. I had the hardest time feeling like life had any hope after our loss. That oxidized silver eagle made so much sense when hope slowly snuck back into my life like the sun through cracks in the wall. Sadly I lost that ring, my wedding ring and my watch that was a treasured gift from my cousin. That was years ago but I still search on kijiji now and then to see if anyone “found” them. Ah, jewellery.

    • Alyssa, I’m so sorry for your loss. Most beautiful thing I’ve read on the internet in a long time.

  17. Sally says...

    I try so hard, repeatedly, but I just can’t truly get along with rings (I’m single, so the whole wedding/engagement ring thing doesn’t matter). That feeling of something rubbing against my other fingers all day bugs me. I also get annoyed with silly stuff, like when the stone isn’t centered, or if the ring isn’t pushed RIGHT down. And it annoys me that my brain is taken up with stuff like that. I don’t have much space in there as it is!
    PERHAPS it’s just that I haven’t found The Right Ring yet, but for now, I can’t be doing with them.

    However, I am currently in the midst of wearing the same necklace every day for a year, in honour of my dad. He died last September, and I put this necklace on (it has stones representing the birth stone of everyone in the family), on the day of his funeral, and fully intend to wear it until the 1 year anniversary this coming September. Yeah, the chain is getting kind of gross-looking (to my eyes), but I rather like it. It shows that time has passed and I’m staying strong.

    • Amber J says...

      that’s beautiful.

  18. Morgan says...

    I wear a signet ring daily as my only piece of everyday jewelry and it’s so special to me. I bought it for myself when I graduated from art school, and it was handmade by an artist who graduated the same year. It’s brass dipped in black enamel with no engraving and it’s very unusual and striking. Now that the enamel has started to wear off along the edges after five years of daily wear, I’m thinking of having it re-dripped to celebrate what’s been a major milestone year for me! Yes, I’m just a bit sentimental :)

    • Vero says...

      This sounds beautiful. I would love something like this! Do you have any contact info for the artist?

  19. My sister received one when she graduated from college and I remember thinking at the time it was a bit preppy, and now like all things I think it’s classic and cool. I especially like the two paired together!

    I wear one my husband bought me from Moorea Seal that I too feel naked without.
    https://www.mooreaseal.com/products/sunburst-signet-ring

    • jules says...

      OMG LOVE

  20. Cass says...

    I have a tiny signet ring with ‘Miracles happen every day’ engraved in even tinier writing on it. I got it in Liberty’s in London when we underwent IVF, because I wanted to remind myself to hope.
    We weren’t successful, but now I wear it to remind me to find the other good things that happen in my life, even when I’m following a path I didn’t plan to follow.

    • Linda says...

      Thanks for sharing, Cass! You’re an inspiration! :)

    • Colleen says...

      Love your story, sending love your way!

    • C. says...

      I love that your ring says this! Thank you for sharing the story behind it. Life does throw curveballs, doesn’t it? Wishing you wellness, hope, and joy.

  21. Elizabeth says...

    A Smithie! Hurrah!

  22. Ruth says...

    Love the look. And yay Seven Sisters alums! I went to Bryn Mawr. Can’t wait to “meet” Franny.

    • Claire says...

      Anassa Kata!

  23. NicoleD says...

    CoJ team and dear fellow readers, any tips on sweet white gold/silver toned signet rings? I’m just not a yellow or rose gold person but love the style and think it would a sweet memento of our upcoming baby’s arrival. Thanks in advance!

  24. Sara says...

    I love the double signet in the photo! Do you know where that one is from? Maybe you posted it and I missed it…?

    • Jennifer O. says...

      I assumed that was Franny’s two rings?

    • Madie says...

      I also love the ring (x 2) in the photo the best… would love the source of that one if available. Thanks!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, those are franny’s two rings!

  25. Rita says...

    I never leave the house without earrings… I’ve made my husband once come by my office to drop by some earrings, because I forgot. I now keep (cheap) studs in by wallet.

  26. April says...

    My best friend died a few days before my son was born. He left me his Spode china and his gold signet ring. I wear it often and still think of him every day. My son is almost 13 now and when he’s old enough, I will pass it on to him from the god-uncle he never knew.

  27. Alexis S. says...

    So happy a fellow 7 sister is at Cup of Jo! I myself went to Mount Holyoke, but have a lot of Smithie friends! Welcome, Franny!

  28. Welcome Franny! Looking forward to learning more about you as your time unfolds at COJ :-)

    I’ve never seen anyone wear two signet rings together. They look great on you! My in-laws have signet rings as wedding bands, and I’ve always thought it was a really unique and understated idea.

  29. Alison says...

    I love this! I have one from when I graduated Smith College. I didn’t want to get it at the time, because I graduated in the middle of the recession and was so worried about money. But my mother told me I should get one so I could give it to my granddaughter some day. And now I love the memories the ring has!

  30. Amber J says...

    Gorgeous rings! I want the exact ones she has. With my own initials. YAY.

    PS What about this beautiful post has drawn so many negative people out of the woodwork? I’m annoyed <3

    xoxo

  31. Courtney says...

    Yay Smith! So happy to see a Smithie at CoJ. My grandparents gifted me my Smith class ring, too, and I’ve always kind of wished I’d chosen a signet. Maybe at the next reunion.

    Welcome Franny!

  32. Noelle says...

    I have one my parents gave me years and years ago with my initial on it. I hardly wear jewelry anymore besides my wedding ring, but now I’m inspired to bring that piece back into rotation :)

  33. Elysha says...

    Yay Smithies!!! I also still wear, and love, that same ring! Looking forward to hearing from Franny here at CoJ!

  34. Julie Coppernoll says...

    I dont have a signet ring but i love color so i have several different rings all with different gemstones. I wear no less then 3 rings on each finger. People think its strange but i love looking down and seeing all the colors and the memories behind each ring. Ive worn this many rings for the last 20 years. I also do stained glass work. Color makes me feel alive and energized.

    • Julie says...

      Would you mind sharing some of your favorite places to find these gemstone rings?! I love the ones Lisa Eldridge (makeup artist) wears often, and she just released a line, but they’re all in 18k gold and extra expensive. I would love to know where you find beautiful, colored gemstone rings. I had a natural gray diamond ring made last year because I wanted to treat myself after making a savings goal, and I’m obsessed!!

    • Anna says...

      Julie, I like to pick up cool rings when I travel! Right now I wear two I got in Israel: one’s a black costume jewelry piece and the other is made with Eilat stone (a stone only mined in Israel). While the stones are different colors, they both have a silver base, so I wear them together. Keep your eyes open the next time you go somewhere for a ring that reminds you of your trip!

    • Julie says...

      Thank you so much Anna!

  35. Anita says...

    For the last handful of years, my parents have started gifting my sister and I their heirloom jewelry. So, for my last birthday, I asked if either of them had a signet that was theirs or their parents. They said no so I let it go. Then last Christmas, my sister had one made for me which was so nice! But as soon as I unwrapped it my dad was like “ooooh, that’s a signet ring! I have one of those” haha so now I have a vintage one from my dad when he was a kid that I wear on my pinky and another new one for my other hand.

  36. Helen Mason says...

    Was there a piece on signet rings way back? Or am I imagining it?

  37. Hey Frannie, I went to Smith College and I cherish my college signet ring. So sweet that you have your grandmother’s ring! xx

  38. Vicki Noeske says...

    Why did you not offer photos and details of several current style signet rings? Other viewers comments are well and good, but show us some merchandise. Thanks.

    • Anon says...

      Holy smokes, they’ve provided some links if you want to see more. Calm down!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, yes, we shared five links in the post. the catbird one is especially beautiful. thank you!

    • Mylene says...

      When I was almost finished my Master’s degree (all coursework completed, only had to submit my thesis), I got totally overwhelmed by the work and the pressure, and I bailed on the program and the job that was allowing me to pursue the degree for free. (I actually ran away to a new job in the Caribbean for three years!) I did find my way back (to the same office and the same program) and when I finally submitted my thesis and graduated, my mother insisted on buying me a gold signet ring from my graduate institution to celebrate. At the time, it felt totally extravagant and a little silly; plus I firmly believed that school rings were only meant for undergraduate students.
      A year later, I wear the ring almost every day and it reminds me that I did persevere to accomplish the hard thing, and also that it’s okay to take a break from something if you need a little distance (or a lot of it). And of course it’s just more evidence that moms always know best.
      Also – love this styling of the two rings together! Excited to learn more about you Franny! :D

  39. Kate says...

    I wear a gold one with my family crest that my parents gave me on my 15th birthday. Everyone in my family has one, and I never take it off. My dad wears his own fathers, which was originally worn in lieu of a wedding band. I love how my finger has grown/shrunk in areas to accommodate it.

  40. Zsuzsa says...

    I have a signet ring from university, but never wear it. All in all I do not like signet rings. In Hungary it is mostly an old man jewellery.

  41. Adrianna says...

    Love my coin signet ring purchased by my papa in 1997 in England. He had one and because he did I wanted one at the age of 19. At 41 I still have it and have worn it ever since! My hand would not be my hand without it! Not sure if that makes any sense. I remember us purchasing it like it was yesterday. He knew his jewlrey! Miss him but always have his ring!

  42. Emily says...

    The rings are lovely.
    A side comment about colleges (not meant to be snarky, but lovingly playful)… What is it with east coasters and their colleges? As someone who grew up in a small town western state, it’s so bizarre to hear people tell/ask where they went to college. My (EC) husband always mentions it in anecdotes about people and when I first met his extended family people asked over and over. It’s just not a thing out here. I am 3rd generation alumni from my (very decent, thank you very much) state school, but I don’t identify with it at all. And it happens to have also been where I’ve worked for years, which is the second question I’m always asked…

    • Claire says...

      I’m glad the “what do you do for a living?” question isn’t the norm everywhere, Freddy! I hate that question. I’m at work all week, I never feel like talking about it more during my time off lol. Maybe it’s because I have a boring job though…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s funny, i’ve never thought about that! i grew up in the midwest and went to Michigan, and whenever i find out someone went to michigan, we’re both thrilled :) i think it’s just one way to connect when you’re in a big city?

    • C. says...

      I think it is a thing everywhere, just depends on the people involved. Here in Texas it is for sure. Like you, I also don’t identify strongly with my college, but I think a lot of people do. And like Joanna mentioned, it’s a point of commonality and connection.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      in new york, at least in my experience, people don’t ask about if/where you went to college, but if it comes up in conversation (like, oh, joanna, you grew up in michigan? i went to UofM; or “i watched a football game this weekend — i went to Ohio State and my team was playing,” etc.) then you’re happy to hear!

  43. I’m wearing my late mother’s high school signet ring from the class of 1940. It’s yellow gold and Art Deco in style. She gave it to me when I was in high school and we discovered that our ring fingers were the same size and she knew I loved vintage things. I wear it in memory of her now, and I find it gives me strength or courage sometimes when I need a little help.

  44. Sam says...

    LOVE Smith College, both my daughters went there and wear the Smith signet rings :) Love that there is a Smithie at Cup Of Jo! Can’t wait to meet Franny!

  45. i met franny today, at the bakery where i work in cobble hill, and she mentioned this post after i told her how much i loved her signet rings! i thought their sentimental value was so sweet!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      when she got back to the office, she told us that you guys had chatted! what perfect timing, haha.

  46. Heather says...

    I wear my Smith ring every day. So excited for a Smithie at Cup of Jo!

    • Jasmine Wright says...

      I, too, went to Smith but don’t have a class signet ring. I guess I’ll put it on my short list of to-dos!
      Franny, welcome to Cup of Jo! I can’t wait to hear/read more about you.

  47. My husband has a signant ring and is *obsessed* with it. It’s simple and meaningful. A little family staple :)

    xo, Sofia

  48. Angela says...

    Ahhhh, a fellow Smith College graduate!! I wear my Smith ring every single day too :)

    • Laura says...

      Wow, they are beautiful! So hard to choose! What a talented friend you have :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so beautiful!

  49. Caro says...

    I also wear a signet ring and it is a little splurgy but is by designer Seb Brown his designs are amazing. I want a second one as I love two together. Instragram @sebbrown

    • Julie says...

      Obsessed with these! Thanks for sharing!

    • Helen says...

      I want all of them!

  50. My oma gave my mom her signet ring when she died, and it’s become a sort of shared family treasure. It’s made out of yellow gold and has a family crest on it, and replicas were made in rose gold for one of my aunts and white gold for the other. And then when my cousins and I each turned 18, we got our own. My sister and I have yellow gold also, like the original that our mom has, and then each of the cousins got them too, in either white or rose gold.

    I almost never wear jewelry but I always wear my ring. We don’t really have any other heirlooms that are shared like that, and I love the connection it brings me.

  51. Kerri says...

    What nail polish is she wearing? So pretty! :-)

    • Sharon says...

      I second her nails are beautiful. So classic.

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Thank you so much, Kerri! It’s Zoya in Chantal :) https://amzn.to/2sUMGSP

  52. You inspired me to find my signet ring in storage. I polished the silver and I am happily wearing it! My father and his brother had a jewelry factory (Antaya Bros) in Attleboro, Massachusetts when I was growing up. We all got initial signet rings.

    • I love to click the links on everyone’s name to see who is behind some these great comments! Louise, the photo gallery on your site is so beautiful! What a cool and unique family business you have. I love this community, Jo!

  53. Love the family heirlooms!

  54. Sisu Garcia says...

    My graduation ring is a signet ring and i wear it everyday! i am so glad i got it like that instead of one with a gem because it is so much more wearable and because it is something meaningful it was well worth the splurge!

  55. Jess says...

    My engagement ring is a signet ring. It has our monogram on it:)

  56. Megan says...

    I wear my great-grandmother’s signet ring. It’s engaged with an E; her name was Emma, and my grandmother’s name is Eleanor, and my middle name is Elizabeth. Hoping against hope that I have a daughter that I can give it to someday!

  57. Suzie says...

    So timeless. I’ve always wanted one. Such a classic, personal piece! I love that she stacks them. Love that it becomes a statement ring!

  58. I wear my family’s initials in a 3 stars rings from merci maman (link under my name).

  59. Laura says...

    I wear 2 signet rings every day – one from my university, and one that has my last name initial (V). I went through a big break up a few years ago and felt like I had lost myself in my partner. I had the V ring made a few days after to remind myself that I am strong, resilient, and fulfilled on my own (I don’t need no man!).

    I had my engagement ring made by the same neighborhood shop a few weeks ago. <3

  60. Emilie says...

    Yay, Smith! I went to Hampshire and spent many many hours in the Smith library :). Not my favorite pasttime then, but now I almost look back on it fondly ;). Welcome Franny!

  61. Ro says...

    I’ve never seen two worn like that! How cool. Sorry, Franny, we’re all going to steal your look!

  62. Sarah says...

    I love this! There’s only one piece of jewelry I wear every day and it’s a signet ring that belonged to my grandfather (mom’s dad). He died when I was pretty young, but seeing his initials on my finger every day reminds me of him and makes me feel connected to that side of my family. I’m lost without its comforting weight. Plus, it’s a surprisingly good conversation starter!

  63. I wear a brass signet ring engraved with BNA (Nashville’s IATA code!). I love the subtle tribute to my hometown.

  64. Patricia says...

    Yay! I LOVE my Smith signet ring!

  65. Katie says...

    Love the idea of wearing two together on the same finger like that! Looking forward to hearing more about/from Franny soon.

    • Lesley says...

      Welcome to the girl gang, franny!!!!! I am sure I speak for all of my cup of jo ladies when I say I am looking forward to learning more about you soon.