A signet ring that tells your story
“Let me see your hand and let’s find out who you are!” No, friends, I have not changed my job and I have not become a seer. I am simply telling you that your fingers, and in particular your rings, tell a story, they tell about you. Your wedding ring, for example, can tell if you are married (also pay attention to any mark, this for those who could have removed it only for the occasion ☺); your ring could remind you of university years; if you were Harry Potter you would surely have a "Gryffindor" ring ☺. Seriously, each jewel is a symbol and it often becomes the tangible sign of a moment in your life: it becomes a witness of your personality and your way of being.
The historical origins of Chevalier rings
Recently back in fashion and re-proposed by the best fashion and jewelry Maisons,
the Signet Ring has its historical roots in Egypt and Asia Minor three thousand years ago.
The cartouches of the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
Let's start from the origins: the Pharaoh's cartouche, the hieroglyph delimited by a symbolic oval perimeter of protection, within which the name of the sovereign echoes, can be considered as the ancestor of the seal itself. The pharaohs even had two: one with the birth name and one with the name of the coronation, when they rose to something similar to a divinity.
The cartouche affixed to the works attributable to that particular pharaoh wanted to be a perennial witness to the personality of the sovereign and the works he made. Here we highlight the essential factor of each seal: personalization.
Middle Ages: The Seal of the nobleman on sealing wax
It is in the Middle Ages that the chevalier ring (in French chevalier means knight) finds its maximum expression.
Here reproduced you can see the seal and the image of Childerico I (one of Charlemagne's great-great-grandparents) - Wikipedia source.
But back to us; in an era when few people were able to read, the elite communicated their will to the people through symbols: it is no coincidence that in these times, churches flourish with frescoes and symbolic images. The common people could not read, books were rare (as unfortunately today, but today is for our indolence) and the Bible and Gospels were represented through images, on walls or on canvas, so that everyone could understand them. There is also a need in this era to validate documents or ascertain their origin: what better solution than a symbol that represents “the authentic will” of the Lord.
Here the knight's ring is stamped on the Cremese sealing wax to authenticate letters, edicts and wills: the seal is a guarantee of authenticity that everyone can understand, villains included.
A personal and unique jewel
For the first signet rings of this type, it is even thought that the jewel was destroyed or buried with the owner once he passed on to a better life.
This thing still happens today on the death of a pontiff when the “piscatory ring" with the symbols and initials of the father is destroyed. Do you understand the importance, personalization and uniqueness of such a symbol?
Handing down the House
With the passage of time the seal becomes the coat of arms (today we would say the brand) of the noble family and begins to be handed down from father to son.
If we really want to be precise, the complete seal is handed down to the eldest son (to whom the noble title is also handed down), while the other children are handed down a simplified coat of arms, specifying their degree of importance within the family.
Men or women's signet rings? From male exclusivity to daily use.
So far I have talked about signet rings for men, but the emblem could also be applied on cufflinks and why not, on a pair of earrings, in the case of an elegant lady who loves to stand out. In this regard the chevalier rings with initials are the maximum expression of the fact "ad personam" because they symbolize your name, your identity. If we add to all this the marked female dowry for taste and refinement, we understand well that the woman has taken this product, perhaps adding precious gems to it, and raised it to the nth degree and splendor. So today it no longer makes sense to talk about “Chevalier” for male or for female, but a way of being or a moment to remember, an iconographic association between jewelry and the person who wears it.
How and where should the Chevalier ring be worn?
Tradition suggests that the signet ring should be worn by the man on his ring finger and by the woman on her little finger.
But if we talk about personalization, does it have any sense to speak of common use? “I had a custom signet ring created specifically for me, why can't I put it on my favorite finger?”
The term personalization becomes synonymous with uniqueness: that's why the proposals of some brands directed to you and "only to another million billion people" are, in my opinion, ridiculous. Nowadays, let me say it, in a world of mass production, the real luxury is personalization: in this sense, your money will always be well spent or, at the very least, will be spent as you wish and not as the influencer of the moment suggests. But what should the shape of the signet ring be like?
You well understand at this point that there is not even a typical shape of chevalier ring but there is only your personal style and your way of expressing it. The most commonly used forms are however square, oval and circular.
Seal Ring: The most used materials
- Gold and silver (often with a burnished finish) certainly stand out in first place: the signet ring, at the top, offers a surface for engraving and the creation of the crest or initial.
- Variations to the theme may be signet rings with engraving and subsequent setting of diamonds (white or black) that create a design, a letter or a monogram.
- The most classic and historical chevalier ring certainly remains the one with engraved stone (as I once said, the frames changes and adapt to fashions, the stone or the cameo, the real protagonists, remain forever). The stones in this case can be carnelian, lapis lazuli, agate, onyx or our specialty: the cameo.
We often sit with the customer and, drinking a coffee, we try to understand what he/she really wants by adapting it to the technical feasibility; we also like to give suggestions, given our almost 100 years of experience. Recently we have indulged ourselves with chevalier rings for men and women representing Medusa, Mercury and Hercules (with mythological lion skin on the head).
They are rings “seeking the right master”. In the same way we consider our customers as unique pieces.
We will make you "meet" the perfect model for you, or, listening to you, we will create an exclusive one that reflects your personality.
The biggest hug in the world to all of you
If you liked this Post probably you will love:
- The History of Cameos
- The Blue Stone of the Kings: Lapis
- The Filigree Ring from Venice
- The Coral Horn Amulet
- Glass Paste Intaglio Jewelry
- Venetian Blackamoors
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