The four main devices (symbols) in the Eldridge blazon are the globe, mermaid, cross formee fitchee and bend ragulee. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, sable and azure .
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.
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 4. 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 5. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 6.
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 7. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 8.
A wide variety of inanimate objects 9 appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the globe is a typical case.
The mermaid is depicted exactly as we now picture the mythical creature, and is almost always shown with dishevelled hair and looking into a hand mirror. 10 They tend to more frequent as supporters than being illustrated upon the shield itself. Wade cites Sloane Evans in his belief that the mermaid represents the “Eloquence” of the bearer.
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 11. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges 12, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross 13. The cross formee is typical of these, (also known as a cross pattee) it has arms which broaden out in smooth curves towards the ends.The fitchee term simply indicates that the lower arm is pointed, as if it is to be planted in the ground