How to wear a signet ring ?

Jewelry trends come and go – but some pieces are timeless. Signet rings are one of the biggest jewelry trends in 2024, with zodiac signs and intricate motifs replacing the family seals that originally were crafted into the face of the ring. Gold signet rings were originally worn as a status symbol and not a fashion accessory, serving a functional purpose with wax seals to sign legal documents.

intaglio signet ring seal from a signet ring how to wear a signet ring on the ring finger of the left hand

Today signet rings have evolved to become a form of personal expression. It’s a chance to express your individuality while continuing a centuries-long tradition, whether you choose a vintage style or design a family signet ring.

Our guide explores the history of signet rings and how different cultures wear signet rings. We’re answering the most common questions about signet rings, including the French signet ring and advice on wearing a signet ring.

You might be shopping for a signet ring for your little finger or want to learn more about this heritage piece. Keep reading to discover why the wax signet ring has stood the test of time.

byzantine signet ring in silver 18k gold signet ring for men


  1. The history of signet rings
  2. How to wear a signet ring in France?
  3. How to wear a signet ring in UK or US?
  4. How to wear a signet ring in Switserland?
  5. Female signet ring meaning
  6. How to wear your wedding ring with your signet ring
  7. FAQs about wearing a signet ring
  8. Explanations in video


The History of Signet Rings

The jewelry we wear today can be traced back through the generations. Some styles and silhouettes have become virtually unrecognizable, while other heritage pieces look the same today as they did a hundred years ago. The signet ring is the classic example of this – often treated as an heirloom piece that is handed down from one generation to the next.

Gold signet rings can be traced back to the Middle Ages, remaining synonymous with nobility until the mid-20th century when they became more mainstream. These rings were worn on an individual’s little finger to show their social status.

Signet rings first served as a practical accessory, offering a form of identification. A wax signet ring would be worn by nobility to provide as a signature on wax seals and legal documents. The term ‘signet ring’ comes from the Latin word ‘signum’, meaning signature.

During the Victorian era, signet rings became a popular way of denoting your relationship status. Oscar Wilde’s most famous portrait features him wearing a signet ring, leading to it being adopted as a symbol amongst the LGBT+ community.

religious gold signet ring for the ring finger tanzanite signet ring templar ring in 18k gold

Signet Rings in Different Cultures

Different cultures and countries have their own interpretation of the meaning behind a signet ring. You’ll see men and women wearing signet rings on different fingers and hands, depending on the country they’re from.

There are no set rules for wearing a gold signet ring. You can choose your preference based purely on aesthetic or cultural reasons.

As the adage says: 

"Messieurs les français, tirez en premier"

How Do You Wear a Signet Ring in France?

Family crest and signet rings are synonymous with French nobility, where there were strict etiquette rules for wearing them based on your gender.

Younger men typically wear their signet ring on the little finger of their right hand. Older gentlemen wear signet rings on their left hand, usually alongside their wedding ring.

Signet rings for women are a popular accessory in France. Traditionally French women will wear their signet ring on the little finger of their right hand. The way a woman wears her signet ring is comparable to Irish Claddagh rings, with the signet ring signaling their relationship status. The motif on the ring will point outwards if the woman is single or face inwards if they are married, showing that their heart is taken.

The rules of the French nobility are:

  • Women wear their signet ring to the right little finger
  • The men (cadet and youngest) carry their signet ring to the right little finger
  • Senior men of their family wear their signet ring in the left ring finger so with their gold wedding ring

For women, the signet ring can be worn in two ways depending on whether they are married or not:

  • in hand-kiss: the engraved motif of the signet ring is turned towards the nail, sign that the person is free
  • in battle: the engraved motif is turned towards the wearer, sign that it is in married.
initial signet ring on the ring finger of the left hand initial gold signet ring for men

How are Signet Rings Worn in England?

Signet rings continue to be a popular heirloom piece, often gifted to commemorate a milestone occasion or birthday. It’s popular in England to wear a signet ring on the little finger of your less dominant hand. Members of the British Royal Family, including King Charles III, are commonly photographed wearing signet rings.

princes charles wear is signet ring on the left hand pinkie finger

Prince Charles wearing his signet ring to the left little finger

King Edward II is widely credited for popularizing signet rings, and the accessory continues to offer a feeling of grandeur. Signet rings in England are typically worn on the little finger of the person’s least dominant hand.

silver and gold signet ring on little finger family signet ring on little finger gold signet ring on pinky ring

How Do You Wear Signet Rings in Switzerland?

While most cultures follow the tradition of wearing signet rings on your little finger, Switzerland does things a little differently. In Switzerland, a signet ring is commonly worn on the ring finger of your left hand.

men's signet ring with blue topaz men's signet ring with peridot stone

Female Signet Ring Meaning

It’s a common misconception that signet rings are only for men. Trends and traditions have evolved with the style becoming more unisex. However, noble women have worn signet rings for virtually as long as men have. Women can choose to use signet rings as a way of signaling their relationship status, depending on the way the motif on their ring is facing.

female wearing a signet ring female wearing a gold signet ring on the left little finger

How to Wear a Signet Ring with a Wedding Ring

A signet ring is the only ring that most men will wear until they get married. Once you’ve said, ‘I do’, you can continue to wear your signet ring alongside your wedding band. You can stack your signet ring and wedding band together if they’re the correct size. Alternatively, you can wear your signet ring on the little finger next to your wedding ring.

FAQs About How to Wear a Signet Ring

  1. Which Finger Do You Wear a Signet Ring On?

You can choose to wear a signet ring on any finger. Traditionally, these family seal rings are commonly worn on the little finger of either hand.

  1. What finger does a woman wear a signet ring on?

Women typically wear signet rings on their little fingers. It’s a custom in France to wear the motif facing outwards if you’re single and inwards towards your heart if you’re in a relationship.

  1. What hand do you wear a signet ring on?

Traditionally in most European countries, you wear your signet ring on your least dominant hand. Alternatively, you can follow the tradition in Switzerland and wear your signet ring on your left hand.


Explore our range of 18k and 24k gold signet rings to choose a heritage ring that will become your signature piece.

How to wear your signet ring in Video


The history of the wearing of the signet ring goes back to Roman antiquity (and perhaps beyond) and the codification remained after the fall of the Roman Empire among the peoples who then inherited this use.

As can be seen, the wearing of the signet ring in the nobility is essential to the little finger (except for siblings), because the signet ring historically used to seal the documents, it was more convenient to wear it on this finger.

Today, apart from nobility, everyone is free to wear it at the finger of their choice.

Hereafter, you can see several custom-made signet rings:

intaglio signet ring wearing for a man man wearing an onyx signet ring large gold signet ring for men

More information:

January 29, 2024 — Nicolas Tranchant

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