The two main devices (symbols) in the Dryja blazon are the bend raguled and jewel. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.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.
The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right 7. It can be further distinguished by embellishing the edges. Of the decorative edges raguly can be at first hard to identify, but once we understand that it arises from an old word raggguled meaning ”chopped off”. 8 we can see that the curious shapes are intended to represent boughs lopped off a tree trunk. (This is also the origin of the term “ragged staff” see so frequently with a bear in Heraldry). Wade suggests that the use of this decoration represents “difficulties that have been encountered” 9, and we can perhaps understand that the “hacked path” resulting shows that these difficulties have been overcome.
A wide variety of inanimate objects 10 appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the jewel is a typical case.