Kawaii Signet Ring: Inspo & History
The Kawaii Pinky Signet Ring is the newest addition to my Alxndra jewellery collection so I thought it would be nice to write a little blog about the history of the signet ring and the meaning of "Kawaii" 💖
Signet Ring History
Traditionally, the signet ring was worn on the small 'pinkie' finger of the non dominant hand. This was so the ring could fulfil its primary purpose efficiently, which was to emboss or seal a document.
This started in ancient Egypt and was carried on by the Romans. By the Middle Ages, any person of influence had a signet ring. This included all nobility and they were used to sign all letters and legal documents. In the fourteenth century King Edward II decreed that all official documents must be signed with the King’s signet ring. The majority of rings dating from these periods were destroyed when their owner died. This is because it avoided any possibility of forged documents appearing after a nobleman’s death!
The signet ring is traditionally still seen as a symbol of family heritage. For many centuries, the signet ring bore the family crest or coat of arms. The name "signet ring"comes from the Latin ‘Signum’ which means ‘sign’.
In the 18th century most men, especially in England, wore rings only on their little fingers, regardless of the type of ring they were wearing. When it came to the Victorian era, single men and women who were not interested in marriage could wear a ring on the pinkies of their left hand. This would signal to others their non-marital desires.
What does Kawaii mean?
By simple translation, Kawaii means "cute", “adorable,” or “pretty” in Japanese.
The word “kawaii” evolved from “kawayushi”, in the Taisho Era (1912-1926), meaning embarrassed, shy, vulnerable, lovable and small. The modern word has retained this meaning, but now encompasses feelings of love, care and protectiveness too.
Kawaii isn’t just a descriptive word in Japan but it encapsulates a whole culture.It describes the culture of celebrating all things adorable as well as embracing fictional characters as the embodiment of positivity.
Kawaii is popular in Japan because Japanese culture values youth, where men and women seek to emulate youth by adopting the kawaii style of dress and lifestyle. It may also represent an escape from long working hours and strict social pressures that many people in Japan face.
Before the 1970s, the target audience of kawaii was younger school girls. Shojo was a way to market and develop fashion after the Second World War, to target teens with drawings of characters in chic fashion trends. Kawaii was used to sell cuteness to girls, who chose their products based on 'kawaiiness'. Collective identity and culture were formed around cute dress, accessories and objects, making a large group identity which still caries on today.
My main inspiration for this collection: Decora Fashion.
One of the most unique Kawaii street fashion styles in Japan is called Decora. The name “Decora” comes from the word “decoration" (デコレーション), and like most street fashion styles, it is now considered as one of Japan's most well-known subcultures. The style features bright colours and a large collection of accessories. The Decora style originated in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Although the style's peak was in the mid-2000s, it is still popular and well-known in Harajuku.
Accessories are key in a decora outfit, and are what makes it stand out apart from other styles. The first rule is to have as many accessories as possible. In fact, there is no such thing as too many accessories in decora! Accessories should also be cute as well as numerous.
My jewellery collection takes inspiration from both kawaii and Decora. I solidified it's core elements, usually plastic, into long lasting silver! The most significant part of Decora style is to pile on as many layers of cute accessories as possible and as someone who cannot leave the house with as many of my rings on as possible, this idea really spoke to my heart! This collection I created aims to "grow up" the fun and playful Decora teen fashion style into everyday wearable pieces. Maybe take a leaf out of a real Decora kid's look and wear as many as you possibly can?!
It took me over a year to get these babies into sampling and even longer to get them into production! I even wear at least 3 of them myself on a day to day basis. The effort was worth the wait and I hope you will love them as much as I do. ☻
My Kawaii solid silver signet rings are currently available to purchase in my shop in 4 cute colours; Lavender Purple, Matcha Green, Torii Orange and Kuro Black.✨
Shop my limited collection here.
Thank you for reading! ♡
If you have any questions on my jewellery please feel free to drop it in the comment box below! ☻