History of Wax Seals and Today's Popularity in Crafting
The history of seals is as old as dirt—literally. Archeologists have found actual examples of seals made from clay and found in the Indus Valley dating back to 3300 BC. These first seals were impressed using rings or cylinders. Additional examples have been found from 150 BC from the Mesopotamia civilization.
Few techniques have endured the test of time like wax seals and continue today. There's something romantic about the unmatched elegant touch that wax seals give to a card or envelope that evokes the image of regal kings and queens and beautiful handwritten correspondence.
The Introduction Of Wax
Although seals had their start centuries earlier, the introduction of wax didn't become common until the Middle Ages when religious and country leaders began to use them to seal documents to authenticate their origin.
These seals came in the form of handheld signets or specially made rings that were unique to the bearer. Over time, wax seals became more commonplace as aristocrats and even common folk started using them. Illiteracy was common during this time, so many people used wax seals in place of a signature. In addition to authenticating a document, these seals also ensured the security of your writing. If one received a letter with a broken seal, they would know someone had read or tampered with the document.
Wax Seal Popularity in the 21st Century
A lot has changed in communication since the Middle Ages, and wax seals are now an art form and relaxing hobby rather than the only way to seal a letter. They now make appearances on handwritten letters, wedding invitations and other forms of correspondence that beg for a special, personalized touch. A quick internet search will bring up companies who are preserving wax seal techniques, but our favorites are:
Even if you're just an admirer of the wax seal technique, you'll likely appreciate this relaxing and satisfying video of wax seal creation. So sit back, find your zen and enjoy:
Faux Wax Seals
The modern mind has found a way to give the look of a hand stamped wax seal without the time commitment and complexity of creating a wax seal from scratch. Companies like Notalgic Impressions make beautiful wax seal stickers that you simply peel and stick. They come in a variety of colors and come in predesigned images or you can provide your own.