By Lauren Jade Hill
Since 1971, the workshop of the goldsmiths and hand engravers behind Rebus has been retaining its traditional hand-engraving methods, which has led to its long-held reputation for quality. Now, Rebus places the focus on hand-engraved signet rings, and with an increasing appreciation for classic jewelry in which people can express their individuality, they’re receiving a new wave of attention, including being featured on the catwalk by Alice Temperley at London Fashion Week.
The founder of Rebus, Emmet Smith, was an apprentice of the company Rebus evolved from in the ’80s, and this is where he mastered the art of hand engraving. It was then a number of years later, frustrated by the quality of the signet rings they were asked to engrave, that he decided to make this item the company’s new focus. This has since proven to be a wise move, as people of all ages and from all corners of the globe seek out these classic engraved signet rings.
Here, each ring is soldered, bent into shape and polished before the engraving begins. And what makes Rebus stand out to many of the clientele is the opportunity to see the process of this craft, with the workshop located downstairs from the showroom. Another great appeal is then the fact each individual can have a design that’s unique to them engraved on the face of the ring. While a simple design takes the craftsmen just four or five hours to engrave, another design could take up to three entire days.
Nine or 18-karat rose, yellow and white gold rings in a series of shapes, from the Oxford oval to marquise, are engraved with the client’s bespoke design, or set with gemstones such as Sardonyx before the mark is made. These marks range from crests and coats of arms to designs relating to the client’s own life and interests. And these signet rings can then be complemented some of the jeweler’s keeper rings, which are designed to fit against the oval signets, and come set with rubies, sapphires and diamonds.
“I think the fashion industry has latched onto signet rings,” Emmet explains, “because we’re now seeing the trend going towards chunkier jewelry. And at the same time, they’re items people can wear every day; these rings are timeless and well-made, and people can put their own mark on them.” As Rebus sees burgeoning interest in their signet rings, there seems to be no disputing the increasing appreciation for good craftsmanship and timeless style.