The two main devices (symbols) in the Cropper blazon are the pigeon and spear. The four main tinctures (colors) are or, azure, sable and argent.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa 2. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.3.
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” 4. The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance 5.
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 6. 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 7. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 8.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 9. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 10.
Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 11. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance 12. The pigeon is amongst the mjaor bird species to appear in heraldry.
Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms 13. The spear or lance is a typical example, often borne (for obvious reasons) in allusion to the crucifixtion. 14 Sometimes only the head is shown, and on other occasions the tilting or tournament spear is specified, familiar to us from many a jousting scene in the movies. 15