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by Amanda Applebyinfo@amandaappleby.com

Seals: an antique method of authentication

The use of wax seals to ensure the privacy of correspondence, along with the tradition of painstakingly composing handwritten letters, has all but disappeared. However, wax seal jewellery still remains sought after today.

The use of wax seals first became popular during the Middle Ages. They were used to identify the sender of a missive, as well as to ensure the authenticity and privacy of the letter. This practice was taken up by noblemen, royalty, religious figures and government officials.

The family seal ring (also known as a signet ring) served a practical purpose in this regard. Signet rings were engraved (in mirror image) with the family's heraldic coat of arms, badge or seal. These rings were then dipped into hot wax and used to seal any written correspondence such as letters, contracts and decrees. Traditionally, a seal ring or pendant would be destroyed after its owner's death in order to prevent fraud, but many antique pieces survive today, having been passed on from generation to generation.

These days, heraldic jewellery such as signet rings are very rarely used to seal letters, but can have both historic and personal value. Wax seals with family crests are treasured as heirlooms, and serve as symbols of a family's social standing and past.

Wax seal pendants have a rich history and are engraved with symbolic images, initials, monograms and inspirational messages.

Every antique or vintage wax seal item of jewellery has its own story, and these little pieces of history can be valuable collector's items.

View products in the following categories:

Ring | Fobs, Seals & Swivels | Pendant

View blogs with the following tags:

Antique | Ring | Royal
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