Though many people think of jewelry, and particularly rings, as more of women’s domain, men have worn jewelry throughout history and pre-history, as well. One of the most traditional men’s rings is the signet ring. Signet rings bear a seal, usually a personal seal of someone with high authority. One of the earliest known signet rings is from Ancient Egypt and is simply the hieroglyphic for the name of the king or pharaoh. In the days before signatures were common, this was a way for the monarch to put his name on a document, usually impressed from the ring into wax or clay.
In more recent historic times, the signet ring has been a coat of arms for a person or family. The image is carved in reverse into metal or semi-precious stone in order for the image to appear correctly once it is impressed into the material receiving the seal. Due to the cost involved with creating such rings, they have often been associated with royalty and the upper classes. In modern times, signet mens rings have become used to associate people with a particular group. Many such organizations, such as collegiate fraternities, Masonic groups and other such clubs use signet rings to denote membership and allow members from other chapters to recognize one another.