The development of heraldic jewellery was a natural and predictable offshoot of the use of heraldric devices as a means of identification in war. Even in times of peace, many knights and nobles soon began to decorate some of their other possessions with their devices or badges-including personal jewellery such as rings and cuffs. Although the evolution of heraldric jewellery probably occured as a result of personal vanity or pride, it did have its practical purposes as well.
Although now mainly (and rightfully) thought of as stunning pieces of jewellery in their own right, a few specific types of heraldric jewellery were created for practical reasons. For example, a signet ring made during the Middle Ages for a nobleman was engraved with the appropriate heraldic crest or coat-of-arms on the surface of the top of the ring. The image was designed in reverse (like a mirror-image), so that when the top of the ring was pressed into hot wax that had been dripped onto the closure of a letter or document, it created a wax image of the crest or coat of arms. When fully cooled, the wax image sealed the paper closed and thus provided greater privacy. And because the rightful owner of the signet ring was the presumptive sender of the letter or author of the document, a document sealed with a signet ring bearing a heraldic crest or coat-of-arms served to identify the author and assured the authenticity of the document.
Heraldric Jewellery Today - Always Beautiful, Sometimes With A Purpose.
Although the need to guarantee authenticity in this manner is long gone, some individuals still use signet rings to identify themselves even today. People who use signet rings for sealing documents,together with those who wear them purely as heraldic jewellery,appreciate their heraldic rings as a symbolic link to their past and their family history.
In countries where the noble class still exists, heraldic jewellery can also be a status symbol, serving as an instant identifier of the wearer's level in society.Even today, a fine piece of heraldic jewellery is a uniquely appropriate gift for a man or woman of high accomplishment or high social status.
Signet rings, seals, badges & brooches, pendants, earrings, cufflinks,cuff style bracelets, tie pins/tacs and keychains - all can be decorated with beautifully engraved or etched family crests, shields or coats-of-arms. They are often made of precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum. High-quality pieces feature lovely designs with intricate detail, as well as vivid colors if they have also been enameled or jewelled.
Although often worn strictly for its beauty, heraldic jewellery has become extremely popular not just because of its appearance, but also because of the sense of history and the pageantry of the Medieval world that it evokes. Colorful, elegant heraldic jewellery is perfect for the commemoration of a significant event in a person's life, such as a graduation or reaching the age of majority - the "coming of age."When presented to the recipient in connection with such an event, heraldic jewellery instills in the giver and the recipient a sense of history and continuing family heritage. But don't forget, there doesn't need to be a purpose behind wearing heraldric jewellery. Although based in history, it is beautiful in its own right and can be worn with great pride and dignity today, just like it was a thousand years ago