I’ve always loved a guy brave enough to wear a signet ring. It’s such a statement piece, and it takes confidence to wear one without feeling like you’re in Tony Soprano cosplay (or worse, that you feel like you are and think that’s a good thing).
But I can’t be alone in thinking that Saved By the Bell ruined rings as a fashion statement for awhile, right? Because we all remember the episode where Zack thought he was cutting a sweetheart deal with that sleazy salesman for Bayside High’s senior class rings, only for his classmates to wind up with green fingers where the shoddy bands had been (Lisa was especially upset, which was so Lisa of her!). Just as I learned that “there’s no hope with dope,” the lesson to steer clear of cheap jewelry stuck with me. (FWIW, the green tinge that cheap rings leave behind is a result of the metal—usually copper—mixing with the acid in your skin.)
Beyond the green stain turning your finger the shade of a Shamrock shake, a cheaper ring will also tarnish quickly, which is why it’s best to search out rings (signet or otherwise) in platinum, stainless steel, or white gold.
For a classic piece that your children could very well pry from your cold dead hands literally, you want something that’s in your budget (but barely! Jewelry should be an investment), suits your personal taste, and y’know, won’t turn your finger green. Is that really so much to ask?!
The folks over at Gentleman’s Gazette have a whole primer on the accessory’s history and ancient Egyptian roots, if you’re into that kind of thing. But basically, while the signet ring’s role has gone from forgery-proof signature to fashion statement, it continues to be an accessory of note for gentlemen far and wide.
If you’re looking to add a little prestige to your pinky (or another finger...we’ll get to that), consider one of the signet rings below.
Sometimes simple is best. This ring comes in 18k gold plating, with the option (which you should totally take) to add your initials in a bold, geometric font. This would look great on a guy’s pinky, as its face is just slim enough not to overwhelm your littlest digit.
Designed in New York and handcrafted in Italy, Degs & Sal makes jewelry for guys who dress like Scott Disick. Which is basically how every guy in New York who tells you on Bumble he’s “headed out east this weekend” dresses now: skinny jeans, Chelsea boots, long T-shirt under a black sweatshirt with a “nice” chain hanging out. It’s...exhausting? But also I kind of like it?
Where was I? Oh, this handcrafted Italian ring in sterling silver is stamped with a Greek-inspired signet design and will kind of but not really make you look like you knocked up a Kardashian. Living the dream!
This big-ass piece of man jewelry features a dragon emblem print, and is made in Italy. It would look great on your hand as you threaten someone with a knuckle sandwich. Ironically, of course.
We’ve been singing Miansai’s praises for years now at SG HQ. The brand’s fish hook bracelets have lured many a reader whose last piece they wore on the reg was a hemp necklace made at camp the summer after middle school. Their signet ring is molded from polished sterling silver, with a rectangular prism shape up top. It’s a low-key, everyday piece for a guy who’d call himself “not really a jewelry guy.”
Tom Wood Oval Blue Lapis, $405
Norwegian designer Mona Jensen (Tom Wood is her capitalist nom de guerre) makes stupidly gorgeous jewelry that’s meant to be passed down to the next generation. Gemstone and precious metal-inlaid signet rings, like this oval style inset with blue lapis, are a brand signature.
If you want something more ornate, it’s worth coughing up a little extra cash. You’ll have this sterling silver ring with black onyx inlay forever, and David Yurman knows how to jewelry right.
Laud Yellow Gold Signet Ring, $3,413
Help. I love this ring so much, and it’s more than my rent. But like, this ring? Could be my home? With a brand mission to “provide an untold narrative in a skewed industry,” the team at Laud handcrafts its pieces in London, sourcing materials that support local communities. This 18kt yellow gold signet ring features a hammered finish and an engraved logo, and I dunno, I just want it for everyone who loves and appreciates beautiful things, like you, and me, and Lisa Turtle.