MAKE-DAY: Wax Carved signet ring

Date: Wednesday 14 June, 2023

Start Time: 6.00PM

End Time: 8.30PM

Venue: FORGE

Create your own bespoke version of this eternal classic, either for yourself or as a gift for somebody close to you. Learn the history of the signet ring from ancient Egypt to the present day and the  6500 year old technique of lost wax casting.  

About the signet ring

The wearing of signet rings (from Latin "signum" meaning "sign" or "mark") dates back to ancient Egypt: the seal of a pharaoh is mentioned in the Book of Genesis (41:42): "Removing his signet ring from his hand, Pharaoh put it on Joseph's hand; he arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain around his neck."

A signet ring is traditionally the seat for a seal, although modern signets can be the base for monograms and stones. Pseudo signets, where the engraving is not reversed, have been around since the 16th century

Historically and, in theory, today a genuine seal engraving on a ring can be used as a signature or proof of identity, authority or authenticity. The most basic rule in heraldry is that you must not display arms you have no right to and the most basic rule in seal engraving is that each impression taken must relate to a unique cutting.

You must not make an exact copy of a previous seal not because of copyright, or trademark but to ensure that the impression traces back to a single version. Seals were the block chain of the chivalric age. Trying to make an exact copy can in extreme cases be described as forgery, each one has to be unique.

Because it is used to attest to the authority of its bearer, the ring has also been seen as a symbol of power, which is why it is included in the regalia of certain monarchies.

The less noble classes began wearing and using signet rings as early as the 13th century. In the 17th century, signet rings fell out of favour in the upper levels of society, replaced by other means for mounting and carrying the signet. In the 18th century, though, signet rings again became popular, and by the 19th century, men of all classes wore them.

Although the face should remain plain to allow for engraving of a seal or monogram. There is endless possibility for the shoulders, shank and the shape of the face.

Price is per person.

What will I make?

Using the ancient technique of wax-carving you will create your own Signet ring. During the class you will plan your ring, transfer the design to wax and carve it from jeweller's wax under expert guidance from one of the best wax-carvers in the industry.

What will happen on the day?

The tutor will demonstrate the techniques for you to try and bring examples of waxcarved rings to the class for inspiration.

At the end of the class you may choose to have the ring cast in the metal of your choice and return to complete it at a second workshop, or return to embellish carved ring with a design. Your tutor will explain options available to you and the costs of each.

What skills do I need?

Difficulty Level: MIXED

This is a taster sessions and suits all levels.

What should I bring?

- Reading glasses (if you need them!) 

What should I wear? 

Clothes: Casual and not too precious as they may get a bit dusty or damaged.  Avoid long, loose fitting sleeves and anything that might catch or get caught whilst you are working.

Shoes: N/A

Hair: N/A

Who is my instructor?

Russell Lownsbrough, author of Waxcarving for Jewellery, award-winning master-craftsman and highly experienced jewellery tutor.

How do I get there? 

See contact page for details on public transport and parking.