Coats of arms speak of the family history and heritage through the years. Often people and nations like to use coats of arms to portray their values, principles and what they stand for. Coats of arms have certain symbols with meanings and depict the heraldry, colors, animals and various other symbols. They have been here for centuries. A few elements common to most of the coats of arms are discussed here.
Colors: Colors are used in coats of arms as background or as a part of a motif of two or more colors. Each color has a definite meaning. Gold stands for generosity and silver or white indicates peace and sincerity. Blue is the color of truth and loyalty and green symbolizes hope and joy. Colors like red and maroon are warrior colors. Red represents military strength and maroon signifies patience and victory in battle. Purple is the color of royal majesty and justice, and orange represents noble ambition.
Animals: Animals are frequently represented on coats of arms. One of the most common is the lion. There is the lion rampant, which stands on its hind legs. This symbol represents dauntless courage. The heraldic lion represents bravery, strength, and valor. The lion is very often used in royal crests and many national crests.
Next to the lion it is the eagle that is often portrayed on coats of arms. This was the insignia of the great Roman Empire, which now represents the United States. The Eagle stands for nobility, strength, and bravery. Its outspread wings indicate protection. Two-headed eagles indicate a joining of two forces.
Other animals include boar and the bull for bravery and valor; the cat, which indicates liberty and vigilance; the rooster means perseverance and courage; the dolphin means swiftness, charity, diligence, and love; the dragon is a valiant defender; a fish means a generous and true mind, full of virtue; the ram indicates authority; and the serpent represents wisdom. Even the unicorn is used to indicate extreme courage and virtue..
Plants: There are plants represented in many coats of arms. These, too, have meaning, just as animals and colors do. Some of the more common plants used include the shamrock to represent perpetuity and a sheaf of wheat which indicates the harvest of hopes. The rose is one of the most common plants used. It indicates hope and joy, grace and beauty. Laurel leaves are signs of victory, and the lily (also know as the Fleur-de-lis) indicates purity.
There variations of the oak tree to indicate different things by the leaves or the nuts. The oak tree represents great age and strength (a long line or old family) and also continuous growth and fertility. The acorn is often used to show strength and antiquity.
Weapons and armor: In addition to colors, plants, and animals, coats of arms also include weapons and armor. Hands or arms clad in arm indicate leadership. The helmet indicates strength and invulnerability, as well as wisdom. The axe indicates military duty and the arrow is a symbol of battle-readiness. A hammer is the symbol of honor. The dagger indicates justice and the shacklebolt is an indicator of victory. The spear and the pike both represent an honorable warrior or valiant knight.
There are many places that you can now buy a coat of arms on the internet. In fact, you can even get your own made up which is pretty cool.