The story behind this collection is one that involves a lot of hard work, a lot of luck (read: good karma) and most importantly a lot of trust in the flow of creativity. It began about a year ago when the team decided to focus on a signet collection. We were initially struck by the aesthetic appeal of them- their clean shapes and the way they sit on the hand felt different to our usual daintier pieces and an avenue we wanted to venture into. Very quickly we began our research into signet rings- their history and what they mean today. We found an amazing book which assisted one in finding their family crest but it turned out that it wasn’t successful for everyone.
Merriam Webster’s definition of a signet: a small seal, especially one set in a ring, used instead of or with a signature to give authentication to an official document.
A description of what a signet ring today symbolises: Known as the 'gentleman's ring', the signet ring is traditionally seen as a symbol of family heritage.
Signet ring from ancient Egypt with a symbol of God Ptah // Antia & Babromo
The earliest signet rings found are from 4.000 BC and come from Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Pharaohs and other personalities wore it to show its importance. But it was in the Middle Ages when they experienced a real boom, then every noble or influential person had a signet ring. However, most of the stamps belonging to this period are not preserved, since they were destroyed once their owner died so that no other documents could not be signed in his name once dead.
These definitions and symbols of a traditional signet sparked conversation. What does it mean to wear a signet ring today? Are they still relevant? In this modern age, what meaning can and should be assigned to words such as ‘tradition’ and ‘heritage’?
We didn’t want to take away from those who do feel attached to their heritage and family, but more so we wanted to see how these things can be redefined to include all people. Those who have difficult relationships with their family and past, those who have fought against tradition their whole life, those who pride themselves in their individuality. The point is not to pit all these ideas against each other- the point is to understand that all these aspects can and should work together. Acknowledge your past, accept your present, create your future.
So we decided we had to work with symbols that would remind its wearer every day who they are, what they want to bring into their life or what path they want to follow. We wanted symbols that would be a compass back to yourself so that you will never be lost again. We delved into researching the different meanings and symbols that felt connected to Black Betty and all she represents. The incredible artist Jaimie Boon, an old Black Betty babe, designed the symbols for us and her talent as well as her knowledge of Black Betty formed the most beautiful creations.
With Kristin’s spiritual lessons of life in the forefront of her mind, we decided to turn to the lessons one can learn from tarot readings. When getting your tarot read you have to let go of having absolute control of your life and start relying on the flows and paths that will naturally come your way. Jamie’s designs naturally inspired the tarot write ups and symbolism, and so our Tarot Deck and Signet Symbols were formed.
Our Tarot/Signet shoot was probably the moment we realised we had created something magical. From the beautiful and inspiring people wearing our pieces, to the styling done by our very own India Shep, to the truly incredible photographer Ulrich Knoblauch and our videographer team headed by Robin Taylor. We couldn’t have been more blessed with the best. The story was really put to life on this day. Two off the street young adults, both with their own story and own past, visit an all knowing oracle of some sorts to get their tarot read and future told. They leave adorned in the signet rings destined for them, filled with inspiration of who they are now and what their future holds.
What started as a simple idea to make some signet rings, turned into something magical and meaningful. One thing flowed into the next naturally, without ever any force or fight. We all ventured into this knowing that what will be will be and what we need will show itself. This was the mantra we kept along the way, and it is no coincidence that this is exactly what message was created in the jewellery.
Choose your own design, choose your own shape. Choose who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow.