Arms of Eben im Pongau, Austria

Eben im Pongau

Granted 1968

Blazon: Argent a chevron wavy in chief two lozenges quarterly gules, all counterchanged per pale

I can’t quite tell if this is actually significantly better than most armory from the modern era, or if I’m really just a sucker for counterchanging, but either way, I find these arms very visually satisfying. There’s a bit of history there, too – the colors, counterchanging, and “faceted” lozenges come from Admont Abbey, which had possession of the town in the Middle Ages. The two halves of the chevron each represent one of the rivers that makes up the local watershed – the Salzach and the Enns.

Arms of Felice Rospigliosi



Blazon: Per pale azure six molets of as many points in pile argent within a bordure indented throughout of the first and the second and per quarterly or and azure, four lozenges counterchanged

The arms on the dexter half of the shield are those of the Altieri family. This may be due to the fact that Felice Rospigliosi, the brother of Pope Clement IX, was elevated to cardinal by Pope Clement X (born Emilio Altieri) in 1673.

Arms of the House of Rospigliosi

In use since 1200s?

Blazon: Per quarterly or and azure, four lozenges counterchanged

The Rospigliosi family originated from Milan, but moved to Pistoia in the late 12th century. In the later 1300s, the Rospigliosis became known for their involvement in the wool and cloth trades, as well as tax collection and spices. Their prestige only increased after Giulio Rospigliosi became Pope Clement IX in 1667.

Arms of Birmingham, England


Granted 1977

Blazon: Per quarterly I and IV azure a bend of five lozenges conjoined or, II and III per pale indented or and gules, overall on a cross ermine a mitre proper

Crest: On a wreath or and azure issuant from a mural crown or charged with a Tudor rose a dexter arm embowed holding a hammer all proper

Supporters: On the dexter a figure representing Art proper vested argent wreathed with laurel vert tied by a riband gules, holding in the sinister hand resting on the shield a book bound of the last and in the dexter a palette with two brushes proper; on the sinister a figure representing Industry habited as a smith, holding in the dexter hand resting on the shield a cupel and in the sinister a hammer resting on an anvil all proper

Mantling: Azure lined or

Motto: Forward

Both coats quartered here were used by the de Bermingham family at various points in time. The family also quartered the coats, but in opposite quarters; the city changed the order for difference. The city was previously granted arms in 1889, which used a fess ermine instead of a cross, and a mural crown instead of a mitre. The supporters in the previous arms were also reversed, with Industry on the dexter and Art on the sinister.

Arms of the borough of Amber Valley

Amber Valley

Derbyshire, England

Granted 1989

Blazon: Vert a pale wavy or within a bordure argent charged with five horseshoes sable, on a chief of the second between two lozenges a cresset sable fired proper

Crest: On a wreath of the colors the battlements of a tower proper issuant therefrom between two croizers or an oak tree also proper fructed and ensigned by a crown of fleurs-de-lis of the first

Supporters: On the dexter a unicorn argent armed and crined or gorged with a collar pendant therefrom a cross flory gules; on the sinister a leopard proper gorged with a collar gules pendant therefrom a fleur-de-lis or

Mantling: Vert lined or

Motto: Per laborem progredimur (By hard work we progress)

The pale wavy evidently represents the river Amber, while the lozenges and cresset symbolize the coal and iron industries. The horseshoes on the bordure are taken from (one of the versions of) the arms of the Ferrers family.

[B]y the law of Arms, a Coat-armor may be given to a woman.

– From Lacies Nobility by Sir John Ferne (1586), p78

It should be noted that this concession comes after several pages of Ferne’s herald character, Paradin, explaining that women may only bear their arms on lozenges because that shape, like women themselves, is poorly suited to the battlefield, and only a queen in her own right may use the traditional three-cornered shield shape.

Arms of Lady Pernell*, Countess of Leicester


(c. 1145 – 1212)

From p80 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Gules a pale or

Ferne gives a fairly accurate accounting of the Countess’s involvement in the Young King’s rebellion against Henry II, though he is clearly on the father’s side of that conflict. He describes the Countess as “a woman of surpassing boldnesse and stomacke (more than was befitting the modestie of her sexe”. (74) He goes on to discuss the different shield shapes, saying that while female armigers must use the lozenge, other forms of the shield are all but irrelevant to the arms.

*Her name is given as Pernell in the text, but her full name was Petronilla de  Grandmesnil.