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Coat of arms dates back to early medieval Europe, individual & unique designs, each one synonymous with a different family, they evolved as a status symbol.
The different parts of the design helped to tell the story of the individual families, their history, property & profession.
Originally shown on a shield and on the surcoat, the cloth tunic worn over the knights armour to deflect the sun’s rays.
Sadly, these coat of arms had another use, they came into their own in helping to identify the wearer during & after battle, when they where needed to help identify the fallen.
They were also used when knights would compete in competitions, medieval tournaments where they would be able to practice various forms of combat, the Heralds or announcers would introduce the knights and their distinctive individual coat of arms would help to identify them to the watching spectators.
The coat of arms mainly refers to all parts of the individual design, the cape, shield, crest & helmet.
The family crest is the sum of all the components that make up the coat of arms, this small image sits on top of the helmet, and is used to simplify these very detailed & unique designs.
And it is this symbol, the family crest that is most used on signet rings and other pieces of jewellery today.