Tinctures, Metals and Furs.

Colours and Metals

A means by which heraldry speaks is through the use of colours which appear on the shield. In heraldry there are five main colours namely: red, blue, black, green and purple. There are two other colours namely: brown and orange which are described as stains. Apart from the colours there are also two metals: gold and silver. In British heraldry these colours and metals are known in their Norman French names:


Many times it is better to follow the rule to “Never put a colour on a colour, and a metal on a metal”. Sometimes however there are exceptions, as in the arms of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and of Vatican City.

Apart from the tinctures and metals there are also the furs. These are patterns which represent the costly furs used by nobility. A fur can be used instead of a metal or a tincture. The most noble form of fur is the ermine as used by the dukes of Brittany. Other forms of furs are vair, ermines or erminiois, potent and counter potent as it can be seen above. The arms of Żurrieq resemble to a potent fur.

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