Metals and Colors
The tinctures of heraldry are divided into metals and colors. Metals are simply Gold (Or) and White (Argent). Colors are Blue (Azure), Red (Gules), Purple (Purpure), Black (Sable), and Green (Vert). The French names are included in parentheses because they have traditionally been used in Heraldry.
The coat of arms’ designer may choose the specific shade of each color.
Rule of Tincture
Because a coat of arms was used to identify the bearer, the rule of tincture was developed. Simply stated, Metals (Gold and White) should not be used on top of other colors and vice versa. Exceptions exist, but they are rare and most heralds believe exceptions should stay rare.
The background of the shield may be one of several patterns, called furs, or it may be a metal or color.
The furs are based on the colors of two different types of animals, the ermine (a relative of the weasel) and the blue-gray squirrel for vair furs. (Sample pictures will be posted soon.)
Ermine Based Furs
Ermine and Ermines
Erminois and Pean
Vair Based Furs
Vair and Counter-vair
Potent and Counter-potent