Authentic Coats of Arms & Treasures

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Perhaps you’ve browsed the Fine Legacy gallery, admired the coats of arms created by other people, and wondered if you could create a coat of arms for your own family. It’s possible that you went back and forth, thinking that a customized, authentic coat of arms would be a fun way to explore your family’s history, but then also wondering if creating such an emblem is worth the investment.

To fully understand the purpose of a coat of arms and the deep meaning it can bring to your family tree, it’s necessary to go all the way back to the time when coats of arms and family crests were first created.

The Art And Science Of Heraldry

To fully understand all the benefits of creating a coat of arms, we must cast our memories back to the medieval ages, when kings and queens, knights and peasants roamed the lands. During this time, knights were often sworn to protect the honor of a noble family. When “hired” the knight would be allowed to decorate his armor, especially his shield, with the coat of arms that had been bestowed upon his employer by a monarch. You see, many people were illiterate during this time, regardless of their wealth. While the name of particular family wouldn’t necessarily be understood in a city or field of battle, a bold, striking, simple coat of arms could be. Overtime, coats of arms became very intricate, always commissioned from a talented artist by a person in authority.

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Reasons Knights Needed A Coat Of Arms

  • Identity – As we already mentioned, the first and most important reason that coats of arms were created was to help identify different factions on the field of battle. As armor became more complex and all encompassing, it wasn’t possible to see much more than a knight’s eyes. Without a coat of arms, it would be impossible to know who was friend and who was foe.
  • Allegiance – Creating a coat of arms also made it possible for people to pledge their allegiance to a certain family and understand the history of that family all in one fell swoop. As you’ll see if you choose to create a coat of arms with us here at Fine Legacy, each element of the coat of arms represents an aspect of your ancestry.
  • Motivation – People have always liked to rally behind a cause, a symbol. When far away from home, battle-worn and starving, the sight of their coat of arms flying high would help to motivate knights to keep fighting.

Why Should Modern Families Should Create A Coat Of Arms?

You’re obviously not a knight or nobleman, so why should you create a coat of arms for your family? Many of the principles that made them popular in the Middle Ages still ring true today. A coat of arms will encourage unity, pride, and respect for history in your family, creating common ground between younger and older generations. Something we could all use more of these days!

Start creating your coat of arms today.

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In seeking to gain more knowledge about the history of your family and the meaning of your surname, it’s likely that you’ve come across terms like “family crest” and “coat of arms.” In some circles these terms are used interchangeably, but here at Fine Legacy, we think it’s important for our clients to know exactly what they’re talking about as well as exactly what they’ll get when creating a coat of arms with the help of our experts.

A Family Crest Is Just One Element Of A Coat Of Arms

Simply put a family crest is not the same thing as a coat of arms, no matter what you may have heard people say or read on the internet. The crest is an important element of your coat of arms, although not every coat of arms throughout history has included a crest. Basically, the crest is considered to be whatever appears about the helm/helmet in your coat of arms.

Famous Family Crests Throughout History

The crest is often an animal of significance to a family, often symbolizing an achievement, but it could also be something else if you choose. While it’s rare to find two crests that are exactly the same, it’s true that some symbols are especially popular for occupying this position on your coat of arms. Family crest symbols that you may have seen on other coats of arms include

  • The Christian cross
  • Ornate leaves
  • Flower and trees
  • Lions
  • Tigers
  • Fish
  • Horses
  • Lizards
  • Birds
  • Castles

Finding Your Family Crest Requires Research

Fine Legacy is here to help you with every aspect of coat of arms design, including the search for a traditional family crest should that be what you desire. Remember, historical authenticity is your mission for each and every coat of arms design, however, we are ultimately concerned with your satisfaction. If you’re creating a coat of arms from scratch, or simply want to break from tradition and create your own legacy, we’d be more than happy to brainstorm crest options with you.

Remember, historically, coats of arms weren’t bestowed upon a surname, they were bestowed upon individuals who earned the privilege of bearing them. While finding out what other coats of arms have looked like for your relatives throughout history may be interesting, it needed limit your options when creating your own coat of arms. This means you’re free to choose the crest that best suits your needs!

Fine Legacy Can Help You Decide On A Family Crest

As it occupies one the top-most positions on your coat of arms, deciding on a crest is an important part of the design process. If you’re stumped when it comes to choosing this important element, Fine Legacy is available to help. Our experienced heralds can present you with options that will mesh well with the rest of your coat of arms design, helping you to choose the symbol that will resonate with your family for many years to come.

Want to get started? Getting excited but still have questions? Contact Fine Legacy today!

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Halloween is behind us which means the winter holidays are just around the corner! Here at Fine Legacy, we believe it’s never to early to start preparing for the holiday season, which means fine tuning your menus, setting up the decorations, and yes, organizing your holiday wish lists so you can be sure to choose the perfect presents for your loved ones.

Here at Fine Legacy, we specialize in creating authentic coats of arms and family crests for those who are interested in honoring their heritage. We take the time to thoroughly research your family lineage, selecting meaningful aspects of your history that can be displayed proudly in a unique and beautiful family crest. We’ve helped thousands of people create a family crest that holds special meaning to their loved ones, and serves as an heirloom that can be passed down for generations.

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Ways To Spice Up The Holidays With Your Family Crest

In today’s post, we’d like to focus on all of the ways that an authentic coat of arms or family crest can help elevate your holiday celebrations to a whole new level. If you’re trying to think of new ideas for gift-giving this year, we encourage you to keep reading!

1. Put It On Your Holiday Card

Family crest meanings are as unique as each member of your family. Show of your beautifully-designed family crest from Fine Legacy by incorporating it into your Christmas photo card this year. Your far flung friends and family will love seeing the unique family crest and coat of arms, and it will most likely earn you a plethora of compliments!


2. Display It At Your Holiday Feast

Will your home will be the gathering place for friends and family this holiday season? Your guests will expect delicious food and festive decorations, but one thing they won’t be expecting is your beautiful family crest displayed in the dining room! If you’re interested in using meaning of your family crest to spark conversation around the holiday table this year, make sure you place your order right away!


3. Give Gifts Customized With Your Family Crest

In addition to designing family crest meanings, Fine Legacy also specializes in creating beautiful treasures that allow you to display the crest proudly on a daily basis. These treasures include timepieces, signet rings, and works of art that give a home or office a distinctive feel. If you’re having a difficult time coming up with gift ideas for those hard-to-please relatives on your list, why not surprise them with something that’s been customized with their family crest?


Discover Your Family Crest Meanings Today!

We hope this post has helped you to see how easy it can be to incorporate family crests and their beloved meanings into your holiday celebrations. As always, please feel free to contact Fine Legacy if you have questions about our coat of arms creation, coat of arms gallery, or the treasures that can be customized with family crest meanings. Our specialists are always happen to help you learn more about the time-honored process of creating family crests and coats of arms, as well as your options for giving gifts customized with your family’s crest!


 

As beautiful as Europe is, there’s something about Ireland that’s magical. It’s a place that’s unique, steeped in tradition, and unlike anywhere else. When you combine that with the Medieval practice of heraldry, the ancient tradition of family crests and coats of arms, you have something truly special.

At Fine Legacy, we’ve committed ourselves to helping our clients create a family crest. But if you have roots in Ireland, or at least have an Irish surname, you might be curious about the meanings behind your coat of arms.

Yesterday, we examined the coats of arms of a few common Irish families, and today we’ll dig down into a few more.

  • The O’Brien coat of arms is simple in its design. The background of the coat is red, and three lions are placed in a vertical row. The front half of each lion is colored yellow, and the back half is black. Essentially, the O’Brien clan is a group of warriors that value generosity and honesty.
  • Not too many coats of arms feature water, but the O’Neill crest is one prominent aquatic crest. The bottom half of the white background features a fish in striking blue water. The fish symbolizes Irish royalty. The upper half portrays a red hand, which was a pledge to uphold sincerity and justice.
  • Many Irish clans loved the drama inherent of a red background, and the Ryan family is no different. Against that background are three griffin heads colored in either silver or white. The griffin symbolized bravery in battle, but it was a fairly uncommon choice of animal on a crest, which made the Ryan coat of arms unique.
  • The Walsh family crest had a red and white background. In the foreground is placed three black spearheads, which signifies their constant preparedness for battle. The shape of the shield itself is a chevron, which is significant in symbolizing protection and death in battle. Swans were often placed atop the shield, as they were the legendary bird that bore chieftains to the afterlife.

The coat of arms has been in use since the Middle Ages. It was flown on flags, emblazoned on shields and tunics, and printed on paperwork. Around the 12th century, coats of arms were adopted by feudal lords as a way of identifying the combatants in a battle.

Their usage spread across Europe and eventually reached Ireland. In fact, from the year 1552 onwards, coats of arms have been regulated through the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland. If you wanted to create your own family crest, he was the man to see.

If you’re of Irish descent and you want to find your family crest meanings, we’re going to talk about a few of them today.

  • The primary branch of the name Murphy originated in the Kerry/Cork area. Their coat of arms is colored red and white, signifying truth and military strength. 4 lions are placed in each corner, symbolizing nobility. The lions are separated by a row of three sheafs of wheat on a black background. The wheat represents fertility and the black represents wisdom.
  • The Kelly coat of arms has a blue background, which signifies both loyalty and faith. Prominently displayed is a castle held up by two chains, which are gripped by two lions. The castle symbolizes security, the chains are the acceptance of duty, and the lions portray fierce warriors.
  • There’s a lot going on with the O’Sullivan coat of arms. We see the colors yellow, black, white, green, and red. A snake is held by a red hand between two lions, while a boar and a deer are below them, isolated in their own sections. It’s a crest that, among other things, has deep historical roots, due to the Celtic associations of the boar, snake, and deer.

Sometimes we wear clothing for purely practical reasons, for protection, or as a uniform. Other times, clothing is a personal statement, a way to say to the world, “This is who I am.” The nobility of Medieval Europe was no different, and they expressed their history and heritage through the family crest and the coat of arms.

The coat of arms symbols and meanings can be intricate, and colors and images of animals all have something to say about the story of the knight, his experiences, and the history of his family. When objects like swords and feathers are added to the design, they create another layer to the story.

Yesterday, we shared part 1 of this series.  This second part really doesn’t scratch the surface, but it can give you a broad idea of not only what these various objects meant to the people of the Middle Ages, but also what concepts and values they cherished.

  • The harp had multiple meanings. First, it was a symbol of a person who possesses even temperament and judgment. It also acted as a metaphorical bridge between Earth and the realms of Heaven.
  • Letters such as E or B represented the first letter of a great battle or tournament that the knight took part in.
  • A plume of feathers was a signifier of serenity and willing obedience to a lord, queen, or king.
  • Scallop shells symbolized that the knight had either traveled a great deal or had been a part of a victorious naval campaign.
  • Spheres were used as scientific or geographical references.
  • Weaponry such as a dagger or sword not only signified military honor but also justice.
  • A lit torch could mean a respect for intelligence and life, a search for truth, or the virtue of zealousness.

When we talk about a coat of arms, we refer to the design found on the cape, helmet, or shield of a knight. The crest is a simplified version of the coat, and it is found upon the helm, or top, of a knight’s helmet. They were more than just a calling card for the noble class. Rather, it was an abbreviated story about the exploits of a knight and the values upheld by his family.

If you take the time to create your own coat of arms, or if your family has one, you’ve probably seen designs that feature things like harps, torches, or other objects. All of these inanimate objects carry very particular meanings that are dear to the identity and ideals of a particular family.

Read on to learn what certain things mean in the designs of a coat of arms.

  • An anchor is both a symbol of religious devotion and our eternal attachment to hope.
  • Bells were thought to have the power to dispel demons and evil spirits with the force of their sounds. Hawk’s bells were signifiers of a person who was unafraid of signaling their approach in peacetime or war.
  • Chains were a highly honorable symbol. They were thought to celebrate the acceptance of weighty and worthwhile service. When combined with collars or a crown, this sent a message that the bearer accepted the chains of obligation due to services willingly rendered.
  • The fleur-de-lis originated in France, and it referred to light, purity, and the unique honor of a sixth son.
  • A hand or a red hand was a sacred pledge to uphold justice and practice sincerity. Two hands clasped together signified an important union or alliance, as well as the mark of an influential baronet.
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