Colors of Heraldry

Gules (Red)

Red, with the former name of Belic, is the military colour for excellence and fortitude. Red corresponds to the metal copper and is denoted in engravings by numerous perpendicular lines. It also represents fire and summer. Ancient laws restricted its use to princes and their families. Red is symbolic of nobility, boldness and ferocity.

Purpure (Purple)

Purple is a rare colour in early rolls of arms. In heraldic terms it is referred to as “purpure.” This is the traditional colour of kings and royalty, and therefore, signifies justice and majesty. In engravings, it is expressed by lines in bend sinister, or slanting to the left.

Tawny (Orange)

An orange is the name given to a tawny roundle, a roundle being any circular charge of colour or metal. It is supposed to represent a tennis ball. Tennis was once a game played strictly by royalty and nobles and the orange indicates that the bearer was a member of that class; however, the orange is seldom met in heraldry.

Azure (blue)

Blue was called "azure" by heralds, and represents the colour of an eastern sky on a clear day. It also corresponds to the metal tin. The word, "azure" was introduced from the east during the Crusades. It signifies piety and sincerity, and is equated with autumn. In engravings it is represented by horizontal lines.

Sable (black)

Black, the coldest of the colours, corresponds to lead. Black, or "sable," is symbolic of sadness. It also corresponds with winter and is a humble color, suitable for the deeply religious. It denotes the qualities of knowledge, piety, serenity and work. Engravers represent it with numerous horizontal and vertical lines crossing each other.

Vert (green)

Green, or in heraldic terms, "vert," signifies felicity and pleasure. It was symbolic of joy, youth and beauty. Green was also associated with the spring. The bearer of the green is obliged to defend the peasant and all who work on the land. It is expressed in engravings by lines in bend, or slanting to the right.

See Also


  1. ^ Swyrich, Archive materials
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