When it comes to royal fashion, the women in the British royal family tree tend to take the spotlight, evidenced by the late Queen Elizabeth II and her brightly coloured outfits, the now Princess of Wales’ iconic fashion, and of course, the enduring style of Princess Diana.
The various pieces of jewellery with fantastic stones and jewels are some of the most attention-grabbing pieces from the family and that we always anticipate them wearing and are the most evident signs of the family’s social status – with Princess Kate’s own jewellery collection being the talk of the town – yet there’s one fashion statement and piece of jewellery that few people are talking about: the engraved gentleman’s ring King Charles III wears on his left pinky finger.
The king has been photographed wearing the large gold band on his pinky at his engagement to Princess Diana in 1981 and has also been spotted wearing the signet ring on his wedding day when he married Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005. The then-Prince of Wales and now King’s gold signet ring has not left the pinky on his left hand since the mid-1970s to the moment he took over the throne, layering it over his wedding band.
We know that the gold signet ring is especially symbolic of King Charles, who was given his signet ring by the Queen when she gave him the title of Prince of Wales. Since then, we have learned that the real reason King Charles wears a ring on his little finger is as a tribute to tradition, the history of which is thought to stretch back to the days of the Old Testament and the Middle Ages.
Signet rings allowed wearers to spread their engraved personal signature on wax seals quickly and were traditionally worn by the middle class to signal that they were of a higher class because they did not have a coat of arms or family crest. For today’s royal family, signet rings are carved with an important symbol and represent their social status.
The king’s own gold signet ring dates back 175 years and was last worn by his uncle, Prince Edward, the Duke of Windsor, who was the Prince of Wales before he ascended the throne. The signet ring is stamped with the official crest of the Prince of Wales.
While the style is often considered a gentleman’s ring and is most recognisable on King Charles, it is also favoured by the family’s women. Queen Elizabeth had been seen wearing such a ring, Princess Diana wore a gold signet ring given to her by Charles before their wedding, and Meghan Markle and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, both have their own symbolic gold signet rings.
Conversely, neither Prince William nor Princess Kate wears a ring (it can also be noted that the prince doesn’t wear his wedding ring either). However, the signet ring has been spotted on the Princess of Wales’s sister, Pippa Middleton.
While the Windsor family and other royals and individuals of high stature have displayed a fondness for signet rings worn on their little fingers, a signet ring isn’t exclusively for the affluent. Whether or not you have a family crest or coat of arms, you can shop and sport a signet ring on your pinky finger as a classic and elegant style choice.
A woman who wears a ring in white gold with a simple yet dazzling stone, reminiscent of an engagement ring, is immediately elegant, while a man wearing a gold signet ring on his pinky finger radiates class.
Engraved signet rings are both important and sentimental items of jewellery that evoke status, tradition, country, and style. Whether or not you’re a prince or princess, wearing a signet ring is a great way for both men and women to display their house or heritage through a coat of arms on a signet ring.
Follow in the steps of the former Prince of Wales and other royals by wearing your signet ring next to your engagement or wedding ring or wearing the ring on your pinky to signify status and confidence.