What Were Seals Made of in Ancient Times?

Seals have been used for centuries as a means of identification and security. In ancient times, seals were often made from a variety of materials, each with its own unique properties and advantages.

Clay Seals

One of the most common materials used for making seals in ancient times was clay. Clay seals were typically made by rolling out a small piece of clay into a flat disc or cylinder shape, then impressing it with a carved seal design. Once the clay had dried and hardened, it could be used to make an impression on wax or other soft materials.

While clay seals were relatively easy to make and use, they had some drawbacks as well. For one thing, they were quite fragile and could easily break if mishandled. Additionally, the seal designs could wear down over time with repeated use.

Stone Seals

Another popular material for making seals in ancient times was stone. Stone seals were usually carved from harder materials like granite or basalt and could be much more durable than their clay counterparts.

Stone seals were often used for official documents or important letters that required a higher level of security. The designs on stone seals also tended to be more intricate and detailed than those on clay seals, making them more difficult to forge.

Metal Seals

In some cases, metal was also used to make seals in ancient times. Metal seals were typically made from soft metals like lead or bronze and were often used for marking goods or containers.

Metal seals could be stamped onto wax or other soft materials just like clay or stone seals, but they had the advantage of being much more durable. They were also less likely to wear down over time with repeated use.


In conclusion, while the materials used for making seals in ancient times varied greatly depending on availability and intended use, all served the same purpose of providing security and identification. From clay to stone to metal, ancient seals were an important part of communication and commerce in many cultures throughout history.