Tinctures. Under this term are included the colours used in Coat Armour, which are divided into three classes.
1st. Metals; i.e. Or, the metal gold; and Argent, Silver, the former is represented in engraving by dots, the later is left quite plain.
2nd. Colours; Gules, expressed in engraving by perpendicular lines. Azure, by horizontal lines from side to side. Sable, by horizontal and perpendicular lines crossing each other. Vert, by diagonal lines from dexter to the sinister. Purpure, by diagonal lines from sinister to dexter. Tenne, by diagonal lines from sinister to dexter, crossed by horizontal lines. Sanguine, by diagonal lines from dexter to sinister, and from sinister to dexter, crossing each other. 3rd. Furs : Which are generally reckoned to be six in number, but some writers have made them amount to eleven. Ermine : A white field, with black tufts. Ermines : Black field, with white tufts. Erminois: A gold field, with black tufts. Pean : Black field, with gold tufts. Vair : White and Blue, represented by figures of small escutcheons, ranged in lines, so that the base argent is opposite to the top azure.
Counter-Vair : The same as the above, only the figures of escutcheons are placed base against base, and point against point. Vaire en point : figures standing exactly one upon another point upon flat. Vaire or Varrie : When the escutcheons forming the Vair are of more than two tinctures.
Vaire ancient : Represented by lines nebuly separated by straight lines. Potent : Resembles the head of crutches. Potent, Counter-potent : Also termed Cuppa, or Varry Cuppa. (P. 22, f. 40.)
All these examples are on Plate 1.You must observe that it is not usual to place metal on metal, nor colour on colour. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it is considered bad heraldry.
Some Authors blazon the Arms of Sovereigns by Planets, of Peers by Precious stones, etc. See Paradigm at Plate 1.
When any beast, bird, or charge is represented in its natural colour, it is blazoned proper, abbreviated ppr.