The three main devices (symbols) in the Kennaway blazon are the annulet, eagle and olive branch. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, gules and argent .
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 1. 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” 2.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”3. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 4. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.5.
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) 6. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 7.
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 8xz`, and the annulet is a good example, being a circular ring of any colour. They also appear interlaced or one within the other, both of which are very pleasing additions. Wade believes that these were one of the symbols of ancient pilgrims. 9
Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period 10. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference 11 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject 12, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!
The olive branch should not surprise as in being regarded as the emblem of “ peace and concord”, from its biblical significance in the story of Noah and the Dove returning to the ark. 13. Indeed we often find the olive branch depicted on a shield being carried by a dove. 14