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Simple wedding bands that used to be the only option for men now are being replaced with more exciting and meaningful designs featuring new materials, diamonds and precious stones. Signet rings are gaining popularity among the young blokes, who don't think twice about it.
Traditions and the Modern World
A long time ago, gentlemen of noble classes of society wore signet rings with pride. Back then, a signet ring had a very practical aspect to it. Gentlemen used it as a seal for written communication, and therefore, the signet ring itself served as a sign of authenticity and identification of the ring's owner.
Today the signet rings are rarely used for that purpose, but they still play an important role. A well designed and adequately fitted signet ring these days is a mark of a confident man who knows his fast cars and can tell the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. When he walks into a room, everybody notices his presence as he carries this aura of healthy self-assurance. The modern man who wears a gentleman's ring is not afraid to express his style or signal a sentimental connection and bond with someone.
In Europe, it is not unusual for a young man to get a signet ring as a twenty-first birthday present from his father. In America, men wear signet rings to show their association with a sports club, a particular army division, or even a University. In Australia, these types of traditions have not cottoned on yet. Still, it is noticeable that Aussie blokes are more comfortable wearing sophisticated rings these days, where two or three decades ago, anything more than a single wedding band on a man's hand seemed quite extravagant.
Men now are more comfortable wearing jewellery in general, and so it is no surprise that signet rings are experiencing a kind of renaissance. The days of fast fashion and cheap accessories are slowly fading away as we as a society are becoming more conscious about what we wear and what we eat. A modern gentleman these days is willing to spend a little extra for a custom-made ring that would last more than one generation.
For instance, when you compare a typical signet ring you find at a major retail outlet with something custom-made, there is always a big difference in quality and craftsmanship behind the price tag. A hollowed-out ring may not be as expensive as the solid one, but it is structurally weaker and therefore won't last as long.
When you commission a ring, whether it is for yourself or someone else special to you (your father, uncle, brother, son), an experienced jeweller will be able to incorporate your symbols (a family crest, pattern, precious stone, etc.) into the design. Your custom made ring will always have more sentimental value and be more meaningful and unique to you and your heirs than just a ring bought on a whim in a shopping centre.
Raw Materials Matter
The quality of the final jewellery piece is directly related to the quality of materials it is made of. Even the most talented and experienced jeweller will struggle if he is asked to use low price metals of questionable consistency and formulation. For instance, a ring made of silver will never be as durable as a ring made of platinum or white gold. Silver itself is prone to oxidation, especially in high humidity climates like Central Queensland. When hydrogen sulphide (sulphur) in the air comes into contact with a silver ring, even for a short period of time, the ring will turn black. So if you are after a low-maintenance, durable piece of jewellery that would last a few generations, don't be enticed by the low price tag of silver or similar soft metals.
Ring's Shape and Hand Proportions
When it comes to a ring design, these days, there are countless possibilities for the overall shape or profile of the ring - rounded top, square top, tapered top, triangle, shield shape, etc. A good jeweller will always consider the shape of your hands first before suggesting an appropriate design. Are your fingers thin and long or relatively short and thick? What about the shape of your nails? What works for one guy may not be the best option for you, as an excellent design always begins with the right proportions.
Wearing a Ring
For a man, wearing jewellery should come with a bit of responsibility. For a skilled jeweller to design and make a bespoke ring, it takes years of practice and hard work. Once the ring goes on your finger, you also have to do your part, otherwise, you risk the "lipstick on a pig" scenario, where elegant jewellery does not match the rest of the picture.
First of all, dirty nails and a signet ring should never go in the same sentence. Even if you work with your hands in an unforgiving environment, make it a part of your daily routine to clean any dirt under your nails and make sure you trim your nails regularly. (That also includes your toenails, but that's another story altogether.) If you happen to have dry skin (and who does not these days with all the COVID protocols and hand sanitisers), there is no shame in using a bit of a moisturiser every now and then. Your skin will thank you for that later.
If you work with your hands, don't forget to remove your ring to avoid any injuries. That is precisely the reason why some blokes wear chunky gold chains. They can remove their rings and lock them safely on the chain while at work—a very smart thing to do.
Also, remember to take care of your jewellery, especially if your ring features precious stones or an intricate design. From our extensive experience in the industry, we would recommend to do a check-up, clean and polish once a year, because it is normal for a ring to get slightly out of shape due to wear and tear. So, if you notice that the band is not round anymore, it is definitely time to take it to your jeweller for some TLC. You will be surprised how much difference a simple clean and polish can make.
If you have any questions or would like to commission a ring for yourself, your dad, your brother or your uncle, get in touch with our head jeweller, Wayne Doyle, for an obligation-free consultation.