“Fleur De Lis” Antique Wax Seal Cuff Links
In the courtroom of Versailles as Marie reclined gently on her chaise, an advisor entered her rooms. He told her that her subjects were starving, they didn't have enough money to buy even bread. "Let them eat cake", she replied.
ORIGINS: These cufflinks are made using a Wax Seal of a Fleur De Lys, the national symbol of France. The symbol is a stylized lily (in French, fleur means flower, and lis means lily) or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be “at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic”, especially in heraldry.
MEANING: The Fleur De Lis symbolizes purity and light.
As a religious symbol it may represent the Trinity, or be an iconographic attribute of the archangel Gabriel, notably in representations of the Annunciation. In such contexts, the fleur-de-lis is associated with the Virgin Mary.
The symbol is also often used on a compass rose to mark the north direction, a tradition started by Flavio Gioja, a Neapolitan mariner of the 14th century.
In the Middle Ages the symbols of lily and fleur-de-lis overlapped considerably in religious art. Michel Pastoureau, the historian, says that until about 1300 they were found in depictions of Jesus, but gradually they took on Marian symbolism and were associated with the Song of Solomon’s “lily among thorns” (lilium inter spinas), understood as a reference to Mary. Other scripture and religious literature in which the lily symbolizes purity and chastity also helped establish the flower as an iconographic attribute of the Virgin.
In medieval England, from the mid-12th century, a noblewoman’s seal often showed the lady with a fleur-de-lis, drawing on the Marian connotations of “female virtue and spirituality”. Images of Mary holding the flower first appeared in the 11th century on coins issued by cathedrals dedicated to her, and next on the seals of cathedral chapters, starting with Notre Dame de Paris in 1146. A standard portrayal was of Mary carrying the flower in her right hand, just as she is shown in that church’s Virgin of Paris statue (with lily), and in the centre of the stained glass rose window (with fleur-de-lis sceptre) above its main entrance. The flowers may be “simple fleurons, sometimes garden lilies, sometimes genuine heraldic fleurs-de-lis”.
The three petals of the heraldic design reflect a widespread association with the Holy Trinity, with the band on the bottom symbolizing Mary. The tradition says that without Mary you can not understand the Trinity since it was she who bore The Son. A tradition going back to 14th century France, added onto the earlier belief that they also represented faith, wisdom and chivalry.
“Flower of light” symbolism has sometimes been understood from the archaic variant fleur-de-luce, but the Oxford English Dictionary suggests this arose from the spelling, not from the etymology.
CUFF LINKS: These cuff links are made out of fine silver (99.9% pure), and hand stamped with an antique wax seal of a fleur de lys, then attached to silver tone cuff link backings.
Each seal is stamped, sanded, polished and oxidized for an antique look. Because they are hand-stamped individually and made to order, these seal stampings are truly unique, and no two stampings are the same (unlike those cast from a mold). The cuff links are also available in copper.
DIMENSIONS: The cuff link face is slightly larger than 1/2″ across.