The two main devices (symbols) in the Anrep blazon are the comb and wing. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and or.
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 1. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 2. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3.
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 4. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 5. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 6.
It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools 7 being a common and important example of these, of which the comb is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break 8, let alone know what to use it for! Nevertheless, for mediaeval peasant it was a clearly identifiable symbol.
Wings are frequently observed in coats of arms. Unless otherwise specified they should be shown as eagle’s wings, with a realistic appearance. 9 They can appear singly or in pairs, in which form they are very often found in the crest, which rests above the shield in a full achievement of arms. Wade, quoting Quillim, suggests that the use of the wing on the shield signifies “celerity and protection or covering”. 10