History of the Seal

History-of-the-Seal-Signet-ring

The use of the seal dates back to the Old Testament, when the wax from a lit candle was dripped onto the flap closing the document and that was stamped with an inscribed stem, known as a seal.

The unbroken seal of a nobleman conferred authenticity. State papers from the ninth century carried the first great seal of England, made for Edward the Confessor and the great seal of the sovereign was held in the custody of the Lord Chancellor. Its use was to authenticate decisions; it alone could issue orders requiring full legal backing, appointment to office, treaties with foreign powers, or even proclamations of war, although normally a warrant of either the privy seal or a signet was required first.

 

The Signet More +

The signet – a small seal dating from the reign of Edward II (1307-27) until 1851 was required to seal every warrant of the privy.

From then on, having your own seal was considered of high value. The seal was used to secure documentation ensuring that the communication arrived intact – a broken seal implied a breach of security.

Signets and Seals became the distinguishing mark of legal stamping and authentication behind business, law and government for over 600 years. Their presence is felt today even in common parlance…. “Set one’s seal on” – authorise, give one’s approval to or “signed sealed and delivered” – this idiom referring to a legal deed.

Gold Signet Rings More +

Gold signet rings-  became increasingly popular from the 17th century onwards as the ultimate, portable mark of distinction. By the18th century the signet ring (or fob signet for ladies) became more widely used as the means to seal letters, even those of a more light-hearted or personal nature.

Seals and Signets More +

Seals and Signets became more elaborate with the introduction of gemstones set into gold. Engraving also became more precise and artistically challenging to cope with the much harder materials. Seal engraving became a true art form in its own right and remains no less so today.

Unfortunately with the introduction of the gummed envelope the use of sealing began to decline and today seals are used mainly in a decorative way to add a refined touch to invitations, cards and gifts.

Middle Ages More +

In the Middle Ages sealing wax was first made from a mixture of beeswax melted together with Venice turpentine and was largely uncoloured. After this vermillion was used to colour the wax, hence the traditional concept of red wax. In the 16th century the sealing wax was made from a mixture of shellac, resin, turpentine, chalk, plaster and colouring and contained no actual wax at all!

TodayMore +

Today- new scientific developments have brought about the creation of ‘faux’ sealing wax made from synthetic materials giving it a more flexible nature and therefore preventing the seal from breaking so easily.

Round wax sticks that fit into sealing wax guns are now available on the market, facilitating volume sealing for invitations, scrapbooks, decorative packaging and a whole host of paper craft projects.

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