All posts by Bella Pritchard-Barrett

No family crest? See these rings

No family crest? Would you like something other than your initials?

If you believe you have no family crest or you do not know your family crest, you could consider having a different engraving. Of course there is always the option to have your initials in a monogram or cypher.

Or, you could have a beautiful signet ring  which has been engraved with a logo, emblem or something which is special and unique to you.

Here are some stunning examples of alternative engravings:

Signets and Cyphers signet ring engraved with a dragonfly
This 9 carat gold signet ring has been intricately engraved with a dragonfly
Signets and Cyphers seal engraved signet ring
Gold signet ring seal engraved with a mermaid
Family crest signet ring by Signets and Cyphers
A beautiful kingfisher makes this lady’s ring really special.

A word or two about engraving

Our engravers do not ‘stamp’ the engraving, they use fine tools with diamond tips to carve the gold, gemstone or silver out of the ring to make a reverse engraving.. So they can see how the engraving is coming along, they use something a bit like blu tack or plasticine to push into the ring every few minutes so they can see the engraving forming and make adjustments as necessary. This is a breathtakingly fine art, and the best engravings are made by the most skilled craftsmen we can find.

Signets and Cyphers Black Onyx seal engraved signet ring
Beautiful Palladium signet ring set with black onyx engraved with tree of life

Unleash your creativity!

At Signets and Cyphers, we can help you find or choose an image to be engraved on your ring. We can advise you on which engravings will look best and which will not work on a signet ring or perhaps on that shape of ring. So really it’s time to let your imagination go wild – unleash your creativity and get something amazing made just for you!

Order an engraved signet ring for Christmas!

Order an engraved signet ring for Christmas from Signets & Cyphers!  They make the most perfect Christmas presents, along with our beautiful gold and silver cuff links. However…..many of us do our Christmas shopping at the last minute and hand engraving is something that can’t be rushed. Our signet ring engravers work every hour they can in December and when we ask them for a speedy service they really pull all the stops out. But every year, there comes a time when regrettably we have to say no to a last minute order, and someone is disappointed.

So if you are thinking about giving a really special hand engraved signet ring or cufflinks for Christmas (or for another special occasion like an anniversary, wedding or birthday), please do your best to order in good time.  This way you can enjoy helpful advice and the bespoke service that we offer, without being pressurised.  Our beautiful jewellery can be engraved with anything you like, our engravers are the best you can find. Signet rings and cufflinks can have family crests, initials or something you have designed yourself. If you have a particular hobby or interest, this can be incorporated into the design.

If you are looking for something different, then we also make Russian Wedding rings or Trinity rings, as well as gold and silver pendants. The pendants can be engraved. For more information look at our website www.signetsandcyphers.com

signet ring
Signet ring engraved with a running hare
Rose Gold Cufflinks Hand Engraved Coat of Arms
18 carat Rose Gold cufflinks, hand engraved with coat of arms and initials

Browsing Through Coats of Arms

Although we engrave more family crests than coats of arms on our signet rings at Signets and Cyphers, we do sometimes have the pleasure of engraving a magnificent coat of arms on a signet ring.

This morning I had a browse on the College of Arms website as you can always find some fascinating coats of arms – with fabulous painted artwork.  I found this one…..the Arms granted to Sir George Martin in 2004:

http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/news-grants/grants/item/66-george-martin

The bird at the top is (of course) a Martin and it has a recorder tucked underneath its wing.  I wonder why there are only three beetles on the shield?  That is a question a Beatles enthusiast might be able to answer?  If you know your Latin, then you might be able to translate the motto – and if you know your Beatles songs then you will recognise it!  The motto is All You Need is Love, or Love Alone is Needed.  Now that’s lovely.

 

 

 

 

Choosing a gemstone signet ring

When it comes to choosing a gemstone signet ring there are several decisions you need to make. Firstly the shape of the ring and stone – the oval or the cushion. If you don’t have a particular preference then my advice would be to choose the one which suits your engraving the best.

This example of a cornelian gemstone set cushion signet ring shows a dragon’s head – with the shape of the dragon’s head breathing fire, if it had been engraved into an oval stone the dragon would have had to be much smaller because of the oval shape. Instead, there is plenty of room for the fire-breathing mouth and pointed ears.

EDMONDS9

The same applies to this bloodstone set gemstone signet ring which is a small lady’s ring where the two initials and the crown above would just not have been so effective on an oval shaped signet ring.

CARTMELBLOODSTONE03

This crest would most likely have worked on either a cushion or an oval but the customer had a preference for an oval.

BAYLY077

This Cornelian set ring has a very dark colour because it has a filled in back behind the stone, which stops any light shining through. The tall crest is perfect for an oval shaped gemstone and the motto curves graciously around the bottom of the stone in a ribbon flourish.

geist03

 

Once you have chosen your shape, then it’s time to turn to the gemstone. The most popular gemstones are the bloodstone which is dark green with red flecks and the cornelian which is the orange/reddish colour stone and of course, black onyx which looks like this:

PATRICK MA26

But if you are looking for something a little different why not choose a blue stone like a lapis or a blue sardonyx. The lapis has gold flecks in the stone which some people love and some not so much but sometimes it can make the ring quite nice and feminine.

small lapis oval4

 

Blue sardonyx is black when you engrave down into the ring…..

ROTH08

 

And Red Sardonyx is more of a lilac colour…..

macgregor03

 

So there are lots of decisions to be made and that is without talking about the engraving as initials too can look very effective on gemstones: leong01

 

Talk to us if you would like any help and advice!

 

Seal engraving or sight engraving?

Most people like to have their crests and coats of arms seal engraved on their signet rings so that when you press it into wax you can see the detail of the engraving. However, if you desire a signet ring where you can see your family name and other lettering without them being in reverse, then sight engraving might just be the thing for you. I have put an example for you to see – the family name Woodley is clear to the eye and the motto which translates as ‘to be wise and silent’ is a wonderful one to accompany the three owls.

WOODLEY1

All about Gold: which gold should you choose for your Signet Ring

When choosing your signet ring one of the main questions is which gold should you choose for your signet ring.  You need to consider the carat of the gold as well as the colour.

Which Gold should you choose?

You can get a range of carats, traditionally in the UK  9 or 18 carat. In the rest of Europe you can get 14 carat gold as well as the standard 18 carat. 22 carat gold is obtainable in some overseas countries (like India) but this is considered too soft to make any lasting jewellery that retains its original detail.

What is the difference between the carats?

Pure gold is 24 carats, but is too soft for jewellery, so other metals are added. 9 carat gold is 9 parts out of 24 gold and the rest is a mix of silver, copper and other metals. 18 carat is 18 parts gold out of the 24. 18 carat has double the amount of gold in it and is therefore roughly double the price and therefore perceived as being better quality.

Different carats have different hardness ratings and different densities. If you are wearing two or more rings together on the same finger you should really go for the same carat so that one doesn’t wear  more quickly.

The yellowness of gold: 9 carat yellow gold has less gold in it than 18 carat and you can see this in the colour difference; 18 carat is much more yellow than 9 carat.

Should I choose 9 carat or 18 Carat? This is a point of personal preference and of course, your budget. 18 carat tends to be softer and will wear quicker as the metal is more pliable. People like this feature as it tends to mould to your finger quicker and the edges wear, giving it a natural antique finish quicker than a 9 carat ring. The engraving detail will last longer on a 9 carat ring – at least 25 years before you might even consider re-engraving. Engravings on 18 carat will last less long but it will still be good for 15 – 20 years and sometimes more. Of course this all depends on how often you wear your signet ring and how much you use your hands.

GOLD TYPES2

The photo above shows the paler 9 carat gold on the left and the more yellow 19 carat gold on the right.

White gold: Some people think yellow gold does not suit their skin colouring so go for white gold instead. White gold comes in all the same carats as yellow gold. White gold has yellow gold in it but has other metals such as silver and palladium in it to give it it’s ‘whiteness’. 9 carat rings have more silver and 18 carat rings have a higher proportion of palladium. White gold used to be made with nickel in it which gave a much whiter look, however this has now been outlawed as it is toxic. The new white gold rings do not retain their whiteness nearly as long as old traditional white gold rings. White gold will always become slightly yellow over time. When we supply white gold rings we polish them highly and they look like bright silver.

However after one year there will be a noticeable difference after they have yellowed up a bit. We can rhodium plate the ring which makes them look spectacular in the short term but before too long the rhodium plating will wear and you’ll notice the yellow colour coming through at points of wear on the finger (and of course scratches will show). It is relatively inexpensive to get your white gold rings re-rhodium plated.

Rose gold: Rose gold has a lovely deep pink or even reddish colour . Many people associate it with an antique gold as it was more popular in the past. Rose gold tends to come and go with fashion. However it seems to be getting quite popular again. The 18 carat rose gold is much pinker than the 9 carat rose gold.

Other Metals

Platinum: Platinum is a very hard and dense precious metal, it is much heavier than gold and much more expensive. You are really making a sound investment in buying platinum as it will last and wear better than any other precious metal.

Black Onyx Palladium Signet Ring Great Christmas Gift

Palladium rebus

This stunning Black Onyx Palladium Signet Ring is now available to purchase due to a cancelled order.

Seal engraved with a tree of life, the engraving is done by hand and the rebus or permanent wax impression which comes with it shows the astonishing detail of the hand engraving. The black onyx stone is set into rare hallmarked palladium.

Palladium is the fourth precious metal which is recognised and hallmarked by the Assay Offices of the United Kingdom. It is a rare and lustrous silvery white metal, part of the Platinum group of metals.  However, it is lighter than Platinum which makes it more comfortable on your finger. The great thing about Palladium compared with White Gold, is it’s natural whiteness which means that it does not go yellow and does not need rhodium plating.

The engraving is of an oak tree of tree of life, with it’s roots showing. This is appropriate for the Black Onyx as traditionally this gemstone is thought to provide a supportive stable energy which has strength and gives protection. It is the stone of Leo. The ring could be used as a seal and comes with a stick of sealing wax so you can try it yourself. You can seal letters and other correspondence with it or use it for fun on your stationery.

This handsome ring measures 15 x 13mm on the face. The finger size is UK: Q or US size 8 although it could be made a size larger if necessary. Originally £1200, this masterpiece is now available for £500 plus delivery. For more details contact: Email me: bella@signetsandcyphers.com

 

Christmas Presents for Men – gold and silver cufflinks make great gifts

domed silver cufflinks with raven and initialsIf you are looking for Christmas presents for men, gold and silver cufflinks make great gifts. Unlike a signet ring you don’t need their size so the gift can be kept secret.  These featured in the photo are domed oval silver cufflinks. Signets and Cyphers make gold and silver cufflinks in a variety of different styles. Our best selling are the twin oval cufflinks but we also make them with a swivelling turnbar and with a torpedo at the end of the chain. Some people prefer the turnbar or torpedo as they are easier to put on to the cuff.  If you want to make them really special we can add a small diamond, ruby or sapphire, star set into the middle for a luxury touch. The engraving can be either a family crest or initials or both.  The engraving is done by hand so our world class engraver can engrave in many different styles. If you see something you like just send it in and we can tell you if it will work on the cufflink. We also recommend putting a date on one side if it is a present to mark a milestone like a special birthday or a wedding, or even a wedding anniversary. The gemstone additions are very good to personalise the gift even more – for example you can have rubies for 40th Wedding Anniversary, Sapphire for 45th and Diamonds for 60 years.  Prices for silver cufflinks engraved with initials start at £250, gold at £595, but for a more accurate quote contact bella@signetsandcyphers.com For more ideas and photos please see the website http://www.signetsandcyphers.com/domed-oval.php

How Do I Find My Family Crest?

We can help with this by looking in our library of Heraldic books. We use Fairbairn’s Book of Crests. There are many editions of this unique reference book which was first published in 1859. You can normally find a copy in your local library, should you wish to do your own research. Most family crests are detailed in this book and we would be more than happy to send the options to you by email.

Bella@signetsandcyphers.com

Or you can visit the website and fill out the Crest Finder form:

http://www.signetsandcyphers.com/crest-finder.php

Your family crest can be engraved on your signet ring either in reverse or for sight. The traditional way is in reverse so that it is the correct way when it is pressed into wax to make a seal. This is where the term seal engraving comes from.