More Wax Seals and Sealing Wax
I've got a collection now, you know. Wax seals are an easy thing to pick up--you can find dozens of styles online for a dollar or two on up, depending on how much you want to spend (or how in love you are with a particular design.)
Wax seals serve a purpose beyond just pinning together paper. (Wax seals were traditionally used as a way to keep a folded letter or note 'sealed.') In fact, there's so much history behind these puppies that Sigillography is what we call the study of seals. Seals first originated in Asia and then appeared in Ancient Greece and Rome and then onward.
What I love about seals is that they are a representation of the person and in modern-day times, they represent what the user wants to portray.
I have another type of seal besides a wax seal and this one is called a Chop stamp or Hanko. In Asian countries, you'll see these used and if you've got any art by asian artists, you might see their bright red chop stamp in the corner somewhere. My chop was made for me by a Japanese friend. Because I'm not Japanese and don't have a Japanese name, she picked a word that closely match my name and conveyed an appropriate meaning. My stamp, when read, sounds like 'Ko-al' which means 'fragrance' or 'scent.'
As of late, because of advancements in sorting equipment at the US Post Office, I have been putting my wax seals on the inside of the envelope. Even then, they sometimes don't survive and arrive in a crumble. I know you can use a hot glue gun and colored glue sticks and make a seal that way (one that will stay stuck to the envelope on the outside, even) but I love not needing electricity to write a letter and seal it up just the way I like. I'm sure I'll give this a try eventually as I think the letters I get from correspondents who use the hot glue method are beautiful.
One item I'm keeping an eye out for is a signet ring that can also be used to create a seal. A dream signet ring would have my family's coat of arms but that's probably for a day long from now.
So, my wax seals. Themes are pretty topical right now. My Mom got me a seal with an 'N' for my name, I have my Mom's old wax seals she had when she was a kid (4-leaf clover, the letter 'J', two footprints, the word 'Love) and a Star of David. I would love to find a warthog on a seal because that is my favorite animal. This is doubtful unless I have it custom-made, I'm sure. ;)
I heard a story about blacksmiths and I'm not 100% sure this is still the case today, but a blacksmith uses a seal on his work. The seal gets heated and then pressed into the metal to leave his mark, sort of like signing your name. When the blacksmith dies, his seal is destroyed. I hope this is still in practice today. In such a techno-saturated world, I relish stories like this, stories about tradition, meaning and the value and respect for the self.
A wax seal is like that. The user picks it based upon something they want to convey--a part of themselves, something they like, who they are. It's a tangible thing, something you can hold on to forever if you like. Very unlike a text message or an email.