NMJ Lovers | William and Maddie featured image

As precious and distinctly unique pieces, a family signet rings can become a layered storytelling piece, imbued with sentiment and heritage. After diving into his ancestral history and discovering a connection to William the Conqueror, William Lutwyche set out to create a wearable piece which told the story of his family lineage in the form of a signet ring.


Incorporating a traditional family crest stamp into a personal design which pays homage to their family's history, William was inspired to gift his wife-to-be an heirloom which speaks to the past, and becomes a part of their future together.

 

      So much of what we do at NMJ is centred around love, where did it all begin for you both?
      Maddie and I met at the Australian National University in Canberra in 2010. For two years we lived next door to each other in a residential college and became best friends. We would spend hours together. After two years of friendship, I realised I was love with Maddie’s sense of adventure, humour, and her drive. We got together at the beginning of 2012 and the rest is history.
       


      We feel so honoured to have played a small role on your special day, what was a highlight?
      Our wedding was postponed twice due to the pandemic and just having our closest family and friends being there to share in our special day was somewhat surreal. As part of our wedding, we took a boat from the ceremony in Greenwich to Balmoral Beach where our reception took place. Cruising along the Harbour past the Bridge and through the Sydney headlands in the bright sun with the most special people in our lives will be forever one of our favourite memories. It is a moment in time we will never be able to create again.

      At NMJ, we believe jewellery has the ability to commemorate moments in time - and we feel so honoured to have been commissioned to create this signet for you. Can you share the inspiration behind your ring?
      I wanted to design a piece that would connect Maddie to our family in a unique way and create a memory that we could both talk about in the future. I was also hoping for a piece that could last and be given to others in our family over time. On the inside of the signet ring is a sapphire and a ruby, this is designed to symbolise both Maddie and I and our new family. As we grow older together and if we are fortunate enough to grow our family, we are hoping further stones will be added.
       
      Serving as a beautiful reminder of your family history, could you tell us bit more about how you discovered that you were a descendant of William the Conqueror?
      The Lutwyche Family History has been extensively researched by our Auntie Jill. Her extensive knowledge and passion for understanding our roots and family identity really was the beginning of the whole signet journey.


      After speaking with my Auntie and being inspired I was sent a book about our family history. Through this process I located a copy of our crest. I was then able to connect with an unknown relative at the time (his Mother and my Grandfather are cousins) in Sydney to attain a seal. Following this, I was able to source a hand-written explanation of the crest. We unfortunately still do not know who wrote the explanation. We are also still deciphering the handwritten message and its exact meaning as some words are illegible.
       
      We believe it currently reads:


      The Lutwyche Crest & Coat of Arms 
      Motto "Non Possum Immutarier" (Unchangeable)
      Symbol Heraldic Figure
      Sir Hugo De Lutwyche was one of William the Conqueror's
      Knights? who came to England with him from Normandy
      in the Year 1066. 
      Unknown Lutwyche Crest:
      Unknown in armour? 
      Unknown Sword? 

      We do not know the exact extent of the descent from ‘Sir Hugo’ one of William the Conquers’ Knights and are endeavouring to research the specificities. Yet there is something grandiose and extraordinary about the connection which as a family we hope we can investigate further. One finding I have made from a text written in 1871 is that our family name ‘Lutwyche’ was likely originally derived from ‘Latois’, a Norman-French name. This evolved into Lutwyche that can be traced to around 1200, when they were called the ‘Lords of Lutwyche.’ At that time Roger Lutwyche, Lord of Lutwyche, had a son William in 1323, a nice coincidence to think about. Originally, when I first saw the crest I thought that the creature that featured was a dragon. After then however reading a description of the Lutwyche crest referenced in a text from 1905, it is more likely to be a tufted heraldic tiger or ‘tyger.’


      The latin phrase, “Non Possum Immutarier” after some preliminary research we believe translates to Unchangeable or I cannot be changed. After speaking with my large extended family, the phrase Unchangeable we agreed was quite fitting. The Lutwyche family in Tasmania, where I am from, are quite well known and are colloquially known as the ‘Thundering Herd’ due to their bold nature and larger than life personalities. Given our families level of overall pride in our surname, it is no wonder that many would identify the with unchangeable label.
       

      Overall I was so incredibly impressed that the graphic design team at NMJ. They were able to convert a family crest stamp on a piece of paper and an old letter seal, into an accurate and beautiful design which pays homage to our family’s history. I hope that it will be something all my family can treasure and utilise. The revival of the Lutwyche crest I like to see as a revived chapter in our family’s history which will be used for many years to come.

      What was your loved one’s reaction to your custom Signet?
      The signet ring was given to Maddie by our photographer when she was preparing for the wedding as a surprise. I had somehow kept it a secret over the preceding months, and it was so nice that he could capture that moment. For Maddie, she was incredibly grateful for the effort I had gone to and because also she had chosen not to take the name, this was a really meaningful way to connect us both.


      During the process of design, I had to somewhat guess the size of her small finger based on her wedding ring, so as she was walking down the aisle, and I got to see her for the first time, I noticed it on her right hand which was a really beautiful moment in time. Another special moment on our wedding day was prior to gifting it to Maddie, I was able to share the ring and its design with my family. I was able to tell them about the signet story, what I had learnt and why I chose to have it made. It was humbling to see my Dad in particular feel a sense of pride about what I had done. It was the first wedding in my close family and to have something to symbolise Maddie’s connection to our family I think they felt was really special. 

       
      At NMJ, at the heart of everything we do is love. Tough question, but tell us, what do you know about love?
      For us, I think love is about being the absolute best of friends. This is how it all started us. There is no one else we’d rather spend time with and experience life together. We are so grateful for the time and memories we have already created and cannot wait for the ones still to come.
      Become inspired by the story of William and Maddie, and  discover the traditional artform of hand engraving to take your design further. To add a discreet message, meaningful initials or symbols, a commemorative date or the words which inspire you, contact our team to discuss further options. We would be honoured to bring your vision to life.