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Identify a Signet Ring? Answered

My grandmother gave me a signet ring a week ago, and I was wondering if anyone could help me identify the coat of arms on the front of the ring.
I don't know what metal it is made from, and there is no visible hallmark that I can see...



Best Answer 1 year ago

The closest that I was able to find is one of the "Etienne" family crests.


That's amazing!

One of the coats of arms shown is incredibly similar to the one on the ring!

Thank you so much!!!

We can't be certain about "silver" without hallmarks or a professional assessment.

It's hard to tell because of the angle of the photo, but the decoration seems to be very deep. That suggests to me that it is intended to be a seal (for pressing into wax blobs closing letters).

That, in turn, means that you should be researching the mirror image of the ring to find the right coat of arms.

signet ring.jpg

It's unlikely that it is another silverish metal, the depth and quality of the engraving suggests it is intended to last and therefore will be of "precious" metal.

It isn't unusual for older objects to lack hall marks. In the USA hallmarks didn't appear until the late 1800's in the UK around late 1700's

I just said we can't be certain - in photographs, steel and aluminium can look like silver. The author says it's "heavy", which is a good sign, but also says he's in the UK (where hallmarking has been a standard practice since the twelve or thirteen hundreds), so the lack of a mark might mean the silver content is too low to count as actual silver, and may just be "silver alloy".

It is not magnetic, so it is not likely to be a ferrous metal.

It could be silver, I really have no idea. It is quite heavy for its size though.

Yes! The engraving is quite deep!

Looking for the mirror image is a good idea, thanks.

I live in the UK.

Thanks so much for the websites you referenced!

The crown is a symbol of victory, sovereignty, and empire it shows the ultimate level of rank position and power, to be awarded a crown of your coat of arms was the greatest honour, as many who study heraldry have said before, It was quite literally your "Crowning Glory".

The Trefoils adoring the spikes of the crown represent Shamrock and are traditionally and unsurprisingly linked to Ireland, if as I suspect this is a "Crown Vallary" specifically designed to reflect Irish descent or links then it would mean that the bearer may have held higher honour still for being not only present in battle but at the very forefront of it, leading his troops into the most dangerous and lethal areas of battle.

The "Bend" which paradoxically is the straight bar running diagonally across the shield generally denotes high military rank or a knight.

The stars represent honour and achievement.

Acorns represent independence another sign of high rank if not in a military sense certainly in a social hierarchy one.

Oak leaves are symbolic of religious faith and endurance.

Sunflowers or Marigolds essentially mean the same things, turning toward light and glory, faith and piety.

The Torteau (the round impression at the bottom right of the shield represents the heavy loaves eaten by crusaders to sustain them (and indeed any soldier or knight) when in the field before entering battle.

With all that in mind I wouldn't be surprised to find that whoever performed the deeds that caused this group of symbols to come together was not only present during the crusades but right up front where the action was, in any event he obviously wasn't averse to swinging a big heavy sword around and shedding blood as a consequence.

None of this of course helps to identify the original owner of this coat of arms or indeed proves the ring was made for him or a later descendant, but it's all very interesting stuff don't you think?

It would be interesting to see an impression put into wax from this, I wouldn't risk sealing wax as it could possibly damage the etching but coloured candle wax or something similar should be safe enough.

It may be worth investing in a search for the coat of arms through the right agencies, and maybe even looking into your family history, you never know there may be a hereditary title waiting to be claimed.

Alternatively if you are not linked to it by bloodline and you so wished you could offer it back to any remaining members of the family it was made for, I know many families who would be happy to pay handsomely for links like this to their history, of course there are risks involved with that as many of the families that were involved in the crusades were Normans and those guys still seem to have control over a good deal of the money and law on our little island.

I'm in line to receive a similar ring that dates back to some years before the French revolution, the only "treasure" left of what was apparently a long and shall we say "somewhat chequered" family history, although for obvious reasons I'm not eagerly awaiting the call from the solicitors to collect it and the title that comes with it is long since dead I will still consider it an honour to keep it, occasionally wear it at appropriate times and be it's caretaker until the time comes for me to pass it on to another generation of the family line, hopefully in many many years from now.