REBUS creates handcrafted signet rings and shares why these rings are so private

It’s true; we love symbolism and personalizing our jewellery. There are a lot of methods to take action, and signet rings have all the time performed their half. The world has a newfound love for them as tendencies develop and our fondness for devoted or customized jewellery grows. Rebus is an organization specializing in signet rings and cufflinks. I sat down with Emmet Smith speaking about his pretty firm.

I’ve been working within the jewellery commerce since 1986. My first foray into the commerce was on the Sir John Cass College of Artwork in Whitechapel, the place I spent a yr finding out jewellery design and making, stone setting, silversmithing, and hand engraving.

Emmeth Smith, REBUS

I instantly fell in love with hand engraving; I’d utterly lose myself in a miniature world I may create. I then began a 5-year apprenticeship with an organization in Hatton Backyard known as R.H. Wilkins. Little did I do know then I’d go on to purchase that firm twelve years later.

”I began Rebus in 2005, primarily because of the frustration of being despatched poor-quality signet rings to work on”

Additionally, RH Wilkins was a B2B enterprise. Having a workshop of extraordinarily proficient engravers, I wished to advertise the artwork of hand engraving on to the client who wears our jewellery. 

Rebus, a B2C jewellery model, allowed me to just do that. All my crew loves working carefully with our clients to create actually imaginative artworks that we then seal and engrave into the piece of Rebus jewellery now we have created for them. Every buyer within the retailer is invited to our workshop, the place they meet the craftspeople making their jewellery. They’re all the time very within the engraving course of and are amazed on the element that may be achieved with simply small handheld chisels (gravers).

This direct contact with the client provides me (particularly as I spent twenty years in an out-of-sight workshop) and my crew a number of pleasure. 

We’ve fairly a big crew for an impartial jewellery firm. The workshop is beneath the shop. Right here we make and seal engrave the signet rings and different jewellery items. We’ve eight engravers, one in all which remains to be serving her apprenticeship. The apprenticeship lasts 4-5 years, relying on age and former expertise. Our livery firm, The Goldsmiths Corridor, indentures our apprentices and offers them and us numerous help. The jewellery commerce is a small, splendidly supportive business stuffed with expert craftsmen and artists.

We even have an in-house manufacturing division and a gross sales and design crew that works with our clients to flush out their concepts and supply sketches.

Rachel, one of many gross sales crew, and one of many engravers take what we do on the highway to the US, the place we arrange trunk exhibits in inns. They had been off to LA and West Hollywood in June and took appointments at The London Lodge.   

I at the moment spend a number of time dwelling in Crete and have acquired two canines, a border collie (Kenny) and a mixed-breed shepherd canine (Dolly). Each canines had been deserted; Dolly will need to have been 2-3 months previous when I discovered her in an olive grove. Kenny was roughly a yr previous when I discovered him operating round a mountain highway. I believe he escaped from his earlier proprietor. Sadly, in rural areas, the canines are left tied up in olive groves or fields; undesirable puppies are sometimes discarded. 

This story is from Matthew Hart, one in all our grasp engravers who’s accompanying Rachel on the US trunk present, who had his canine engraved on his personal signet ring:

My mom had a fox terrier as a toddler and all the time wished one other. So someday, we discovered some fox terrier puppies on the market. Right away, we noticed Ted and needed to have him. We named him ‘Ted’ as a result of (apart from wanting like a teddy bear), I used to be watching numerous Father Ted on the time, and it was between Ted or Doogle. Ted is now 6.

Signet Rings are very private; I made a signet ring in reminiscence of my father. 

That is my private model of a mourning ring within the spirit of Momento Mori (I have already got one other signet ring that has the motto Momento Vivere ‘keep in mind to reside’ engraved into it). My father, Philip Smith (aka Dickie, Detsy, the Captain), died in 2019, and I made a decision to design a signet ring in his reminiscence that I may put on day by day and keep in mind him.

The form is a bigger model of the Rebus Marquise, it’s made out of 18K yellow gold, and I’ve used vitreous white and inexperienced/gray enamel.

On one shoulder, I carved an ear. I took this concept after visiting a museum in Berlin, the place there’s a everlasting historic Egyptian exhibition. I realized the Egyptians’ use of the ear as an icon was widespread of their artwork, wall carvings, and worn as amulets. These listening to or ‘Sacred Ears’ had been carved into partitions of temples so that individuals would have the ear of their deity, to share a message with the gods and goddess.

The symbolism of ear amulets just isn’t all the time effectively understood, however I just like the model that it represents an individual and is thus related to that particular person. I sometimes hum a tune or say a couple of phrases into ‘his ear’; it’s a consolation for me. To not point out it might enchantment to my Dad’s humorousness and makes me chuckle typically.

I selected white enamel on the highest floor, as utilized in conventional Victorian memento mori jewellery. Inside the white enamel are raised gold letters that say ‘Not by Phrases.’ I used to be a little bit of a tearaway, however he would all the time give me a hug in instances of hassle. He didn’t have to say a phrase; they had been pointless. The part is also a part of the Latin motto the place I took the title Rebus from ‘Non verbis, sed Rebus,’ not by phrases however by concepts or photographs.

Within the middle of the ring is a darkish inexperienced coloured enamel, which references Eire; Dad was a really proud Irishman. Using white enamel round inexperienced provides the signet ring an look of an eye fixed, a high quality that was not deliberate, however I’ve all the time liked lovely errors.

Underneath the inexperienced enamel is an engraved picture of a door. After Dad died, I found one in all his notebooks. His first and solely entry was a sonnet he copied, which he might have learn from one in all his books. On the finish of the sonnet, he wrote it was probably the most lovely poems he had learn. It’s known as:

When I’m lifeless and laid finally to relaxation by Gamel Woolsey

There’s a line: ‘As air that quickens on the opened door,’ which struck a chord with me, and naturally, the picture of a door is a robust image and metaphor.

Our two hearts engraved into the door want no rationalization.

I put on this ring day by day. I’m not completed but. I’ve one other shoulder I may carve someday, and I plan to place a message contained in the shank. He liked Neil Younger, so possibly a line from one in all his favourite songs.

This signet ring is a reminder, a communication, and a tribute to our love. Father and son.

Gail and Sophie gifted one another a hoop with their canines on it. Designed and made by Rebus


Completely sure, our stone setter fosters rescue canines and usually brings them in. Additionally, Kate from the gross sales crew sometimes walks her canines to work. So, now we have two upstairs once in a while and one downstairs. The Rebus retailer is positioned on a market highway (Leather-based Lane, in central London) that’s well-known for its attractive meals stalls. I wager the canines love coming to work!


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