how to make a signet ring
We all love a signet, right?
Classically worn as a men’s pinkie wedding ring, the signet ring has become an iconic piece of fashionable jewellery styled by the likes of Cara Delevingne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Pippa Middleton, Megan Markle to name a few.
The signet ring has gone from a “traditional heirloom to a modern must-have” jewellery piece. There are so many adaptations and variations out there in the world, each carrying it with its own story and legacy. For the first time ever, you can customise and personalise your signet ring to fit the way you want it to, textured and finished just the way you like it. Design your signet ring to carry your story with it forever. Here is how it is done…
before we begin
Your signet ring design will be completed predominantly by using the sandpapers and gold file. For my signet ring design, I chose to create the traditional shape and then to add a melted ‘gold foil’ style texture across the top.
We will be sanding the wax in three main areas. It is important to plan first so that we know exactly what we are taking off. Planning will allow us to be confident we are going to achieve the right shape at the end. Our three main areas to sand away are:
- Take the flat top down the thickness you’d like on the top of your signet ring.
- Round out the top to create the signet shape and thin the ring shank.
- Taper the band from narrow at the bottom of the shank to wide at the top.
It is a good idea to mark on these guidelines using a permanent marker, or a black sharpie pen.
let’s dive in
To start with, we’re going to take the flat top down to the thickness that we’d like the top of the signet ring. You can make this as thick or as thin as you’d like. Typically, this would be around 2-3mm thick from the inside of the ring. With your sandpaper on a hard-stable surface, place the top of the wax flat to the sandpaper and move the wax in either a side-to-side, or circular motion.
When you have the desired thickness, you can start rounding out the top of the ring to start creating the traditional signet shape. Again, using the sandpaper in a circular or side-to-side motion, sand away the wax to the guidelines referred to in step 1.
The next step is to thin the band of the ring so that it is comfortable to wear. Feel free to try the ring on as you go, but be cautious not to break the ring or put too much strain as the band gets thinner.
You can thin the band using the sandpaper on a solid surface again, or you can hold the ring in one hand and the sandpaper in another. This is best for when the band gets thinner (below 2mm thick), as it puts less strain on the wax leaving it less prone to break.
You can make the band as thin as you’d like! Seriously… however, the thinner the band gets the less force you can push on the band with the sandpaper. Patience is key here.
You can also continue to thin the band (which may be easier) after step 4.
As an alternative to keep thinning an already thin band, you can use the gold file or the yellow fine sandpaper. Both will exert less strain on the band.
When you’ve neared the correct thickness of the ring shank, and you’re happy with the signet shape, the final step is to narrow and taper the band toward the bottom of the ring.
To do this, place the coarse sandpaper on a stable surface again. Place the wax flat on its side, and lift the top of the ring slightly. Gently sand the ring using side to side motion. After a few strokes, repeat on the opposite side.
Repeat this process until the band gently tapers wider at the top of the ring and narrower at the bottom. It should be a steady line at the way to the top.
If the line is not straight all the way to the top, just adjust the angle slightly as needed.
Now that you’ve got the perfect tapered shape on your signet ring, you can make any additional fine adjustments with the gold file, and yellow fine sandpaper.
The gold file can remove the deep blemishes and scratches that are from the coarse sandpaper.
The yellow fine sandpaper can remove light blemishes and give you a perfect polished finish.
We’re nearly there…
This is where some more creative freedom and control can come into play. We have the shape, now we can decide on a finishing texture or marks.
We could; engrave something into the top using a gold file; melt a texture; carve a hammered effect; polish it perfect. The possibilities are endless.
For our example, we are going to polish the entire ring and then melt a simple texture into the top using a steel tool and a candle.
Using the gold file, I have taken away any deep scratches and sanded them away with the yellow sandpaper.
Finally, using a spoon side to the steel shaping tool, heat over a candle for 10-15 seconds. Once the spoon is hot enough, gently press into the top surface of the ring and move the wax around.
My example in the photo took about 20 seconds to complete.
You may wish to practice this process using a different piece of wax first.
And that is it!! As simple as that! To fully complete this ring, I cast the signet in 925 Sterling Silver. I then chose a polished finish and added a yellow gold plate to add a sprinkle of tradition back in. For everyone that’s had a go, please share your signet creations!