Signet rings date back thousands of years, and were originally pressed in hot wax and used as signatures on letters and legal documents. Now the unique designs have reemerged as a modern style statement. “I find them so evocative. They are rich in detail, strange designs, and symbols,” says Emmet Smith, who founded Rebus in 2001 in the historic Hatton Garden London. The firm specializes in highly customized signet rings, pendants, and accessories. For the first time this spring, Rebus has extended its custom services to clients in the United States.
Through the website, U.S.-based customers can create a traditional signet ring using their family’s crest—Rebus’s extensive online library houses more than 30,000 insignias sourced from Fairbairn’s Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland. Additionally, clients can select a special font for a personalized monogram, or submit their own design for artisans to apply to a ring. “We’ve engraved a huge array of images,” says Smith. Among the more inventive designs? “An origami bear holding a pineapple, skeletons, tattoo motifs and, my favorite, an eagle swooping down to catch a rabbit.” Clients can have one-on-one consultations with artisans about their design via phone, email, Skype, or the website’s instant messaging system.
After a design has been solidified, Rebus’s crew—the UK’s largest in-house team of hand-engravers—can begin the etching in gold, rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, platinum, and silver. Signet rings made from their colorful stone-set rings can have onyx, blue sardonyx, bloodstone, tiger’s eye, or carnelian as the central stone. From start to finish, a custom order can take up to two months to complete. In the future, Smith hopes to further modernize the look of each ring by adding semi-precious stones like garnet, agate, and malachite. Regardless of the style, these rings are made to last. “Often signet rings are handed down through the family,” says Smith. “They are pieces of jewelry that are commonly worn every day, slowly becoming part of the fabric of the wearer—this is the magic.” (rebussignetrings.co.uk/US)