The ring might be a tiny piece of jewelry, but it tells a great deal about its wearer and our need for symbols. The signet is the category of gentlemen’s rings with the longest history, with roots in every civilization. With private property rights came the invention of signets and seals – to mark and ensure the property as such.
Rings for men may be worn to signal status and power, rank and riches, but back in the days they were useful in illiterate times, when few could read. Seals authenticated the legitimacy of documents in a way that was understandable for all.