Ruffs Signet Rings

You have the Savile Row suit, the bespoke shoes, the bowler hat, the parted hair, but there's something quite clearly missing. You look down at your unadorned hand, and noticing your naked little finger an obvious question suddenly occurs to you. Where's my signet ring?

Ruffs can create the perfect signet ring for you
As Ruffs, the signet ring specialists, will tell you, you don't need to be blue-blooded to add a little signifier to your digitus minimus.

Makers of signet rings, cufflinks and fine jewellery
Ruffs the jewellers was established in 1904 in Gosport, Hampshire, England. Now located near Southampton, they continue to be family-owned. Mark is the fourth generation of Ruff to head a business that is synonymous with the craft of making signet rings.
Do I need a Family Crest?
Mark Ruff helpfully dismisses the idea that a title or family crest is required for a signet ring:

'There is a myth which says everyone has a family crest. That is nonsense. What is true, however, is that most surnames have a crest associated with that surname somewhere along the line. A book entitled “Fairbairn's Book of Crests” offers over 4,000 crests! More often than not a device can be chosen from here.

'Alternatively, we offer a service by which we design a cipher of a person's initials which is a very acceptable variation on the heraldic crest. Initials can be surface- or seal-engraved.

'One doesn't have to be titled to wear a signet ring. If that were the case, my potential market would be considerably reduced.'

Choosing a Style of Signet Ring

Traditionally, a signet ring is a ring that makes a sign, and properly speaking should always be seal-engraved to make a sign in wax. Seal-engraving is cut deeply in reverse, which enables the ring to be impressed into sealing wax to create a positive impression of the device.

Surface-engraving is appreciably less deep and is suitable on a ring for initials. Ruffs use this technique mainly for their cufflinks and silver salvers.

How much gold?
Mark recommends 18ct for his rings. 'It is a beautiful colour being 18 parts gold and only 6 parts alloy.'
The shape of your ring
The most popular shape for a signet ring is the straight oval - a timeless classic shape.

Idle thought: a design with a small pig, perhaps a pig rampant. It could be a design used by readers to denote secret affiliation...


Ruffs Cufflinks

I imagine you're now persuaded to take the plunge with a Ruffs signet ring. Let's persuade you with Ruffs' cufflinks while we're at it.

We asked Mark about his most popular cufflinks collections: 'This would be the enamelled and engine-turned cufflinks but, most of the time, we are making our cufflinks to order, typically with a family crest to one side and initials to the other.'

The inspiration behind the cufflink collections stems from the Ruffs archive. As Mark says, 'I had an advantage with the 1934 range, having inherited a fabulous old catalogue dating back to my grandfather's day.'

Heritage a Source of Inspiration or a Creative Constraint?

Oxford lace-ups, Georgian houses, Malacca cane umbrellas, Kent combs, plain chocolate digestive biscuits - design classics that require no update, as we all know. Mark feels very much the same way about Ruff's products:

'We are lucky enough to work with a product that doesn't need constantly updating or revising. I think this is true of any classic product. We therefore find our heritage a constant source of inspiration and strive to maintain those very high standards of craftsmanship.'


  1. Fairbairn's 2 vol. set is in the public domain. Look up your name in vol.1 to find the relevant plate in which the crest is depicted in vol.2.

    Happy hunting!


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