Posts tagged ‘lucky charms heraldry’

Lucky charms heraldry

The term lucky charms heraldry sounds odd or even funny but, it describes a type of heraldry that has existed for centuries very accurately. The best definition of the term I can come up with is: Heraldry that includes an element to represent every bit of the armiger’s ancestry, religion, career, etc.

Lucky charms(fictional “lucky charms” shield)

The fictional shield above, however attractive it may appear to be, is an example of such heraldry. When designing it, I thought of the following regarding my fictional armiger:

  • He is of Irish descent, hence the tinctures Vert (green) and Argent (white) for the field.
  • He is an architect, hence the arches
  • He served in the Navy, therefore the anchor
  • He is an avid chess player, therefore the chess rook
  • While in the Navy, he served in Alaska. He also currently resides in Alaska, therefore the 2 snowflakes
  • He was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon, hence the dragon
  • He is a devout Christian and has made the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, hence the coquille (sea shell)
  • He owns a vineyard, hence the grape leaf
  • As a further allusion to his Irish heritage, he used the colors of the Irish flag (green, white and orange) on the bottom side of the shield. Orange exists in heraldry as the stain tenné.

As you can see, this is a bit much…. The arms are overly complex, the blazon too complex and there is no point in having so much on a coat of arms. I’ll attempt to blazon the arms: Per fess Vert and Argent in chief a double arch Sable masoned Argent above two snowflakes above in dexter a chess rook and in sinister an anchor Argent, in base a dragon Vert between a coquille and a grape leaf tenné.

As mentioned in the conclusion of the guide on designing your own coat of arms, the most basic rule to follow in any new design is to keep things simple. A coat of arms should convey what enough to know the armiger without being a full life story or curriculum vitae.

It should also be generic enough that the armiger’s descendents, even 200 years later, will still feel a relationship to the shield. Imagine if the great-great-….-great grandson of the armiger, 200 years in the future, feels absolutely no affinity to Ireland, is allergic to wine, is a Buddhist, gets easily seasick and lives in Florida?

Designing your own coat of arms – Conclusion

In this last post in the series on how to design your own coat of arms, we’ll try to bring everything together.

In all of the posts in the series, we saw how you can come up with ideas for the charges, tinctures and style of your coat of arms. You can draw from your ancestry, your familial symbols, family tradition, career and religion. Anything that defines you and your family can very well be a source of inspiration.

However, a very basic principle should be adhered to: the principle of KIS or Keep It Simple. Some may know it with an additional S for “Stupid” 🙂

Regardless of the number of Ss, the principle is to not make the shield overbearing and fall into the trap of lucky charms heraldry. In other words, you don’t have to include an allusion to everything that represents you, just enough to identify you.

Also, don’t forget the original purpose of heraldry: to identify a knight on the field of battle from a distance. If the arms are too complex and have too much on it, it becomes a bungled mess.

Grenville Diptych

Above is the Grenville Diptych displaying all the quarterings of the arms of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos. It contains all the information about the family but it’s a mess. A wonderful find for any lover of heraldry to try to identify all the arms depicted and the stories behind them but, as a shield on it’s own it’s too much.

Your arms are a place where you can express yourself, identify yourself, put your own personal touches but it is not a curriculum vitae or a family tree. Take the elements that you think fit best together, use the appropriate tinctures, follow the basic heraldic rules (tinctures, crests, etc) and you’re sure to come up with a very attractive coat of arms.

If all else fails, you can always reach out to any of the various heraldic artists out there, the various heraldry forums, or, if you want, me 🙂

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