Family Seal Rings – Useful in the Past, Today’s Stunning Jewelry


Jewelry has adorned the bodies of men and women for tens of thousands of years – since before mankind began recording history or even had any type of written language. Family seal rings haven’t been around for quite that long, but their history does go back to the feudal period of the Middle Ages, one thousand or more years ago.

In those long-ago times, a nobleman or knight going into battle would decorate his armor and shield with his heraldic coat-of-arms or badge, allowing him to quickly identify himself to both his allies and his enemies on the battlefield. Heraldic jewelry evolved out of this common wartime practice, and even during times of peace, the nobility often would decorate their possessions, including the jewelry that they wore, with heraldic devices and badges. Heraldic jewelry thus came to be a form of personal adornment and an expression of personal pride or vanity in addition to being a means of identifying oneself.

A few specific types of heraldic jewelry were created for practical reasons, although their main use today is as purely decorative jewelry. A prime example of this early practicality is the family seal ring. In the past, family seal rings (also called signet rings) made for the nobility were designed to have a heraldic emblem such as a crest or coat-of-arms engraved on the surface of the top of the ring. The heraldic device was designed in reverse (like a mirror-image), so that when the top of the ring was pressed into hot wax that had been dripped onto the closure of a letter or document, it created an image of the crest or arms. The wax image of the device then sealed the paper closed when the wax cooled. Because the heraldic device belonged to a specific person, a wax seal bearing that heraldic crest or coat-of-arms identified the sender of a letter and assured its authenticity.

Although the need to guarantee a letter’s authenticity in this way is long gone, family seal rings can be used to seal letters even today. There are probably a few people who seal their letters with a family seal ring purely out of a sense of vanity, but many, many others who use family seal rings for sealing documents realize that they are a symbolic link to the past and to their family history. The same is true for those who wear family seal rings purely as beautiful pieces of heraldic jewelry.

Captivating Jewelry That Evokes Status, History and Tradition.

In countries where the noble class still exists, a family seal ring isn’t just a beautiful piece of jewelry – it is also a clearcut symbol of status that serves as an instant identifier of the wearer’s level in society. And even in countries that do not recognize noble birth (such as the United States), a fine family seal ring is a uniquely appropriate piece of jewelry for a man or woman of high accomplishment or high social status.

Family seal rings can be decorated with beautifully engraved or etched

family seals, crests, shields or heraldic coats-of-arms. They are often made of precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum, and the arresting appearance of high-quality pieces, with their intricate detail, will captivate anyone who sees them. Their visual appeal can be enhanced even more if they are enameled with vivid colors or if they are set with colorful precious gemstones.

Family seal rings are extremely popular because of their beauty and the history that they signify. The pageantry and magnificence of the Medieval world are quickly brought to mind by these stunning rings with their highly stylized, intricate heraldic designs. They instill a sense of history and also encourage a connection with family heritage. Family history and time-honored traditions – both are reflected in the beautiful design of a family seal ring.

Diane Hamments is a freelance author who writes on various subjects including Family Seal Rings , Collectables and Memorabilia. Visit great gift ideas for more information.

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