The basic components of a Heraldic Achievement or Coat of Arms are shown below:
It is important to note that a Scottish heraldic achievement houses the family motto about the crest.
In most countries a coat of arms is inherited by all of the bearers male descendants. Many countries use cadency to differentiate different bothers, however this practice is rarely fallowed (except for in Scotland). In most countries (everywhere except Canada) women only inherit a coat of arms if they do not have a living bother (or deceased bother with children). Women who inherit arms are called heirs. The chart below describes how arms are inherited in most countries:
Tinctures (aka colors, metals, and furs)
The chart below shows the different colors and metals. On the right of each shield is the symbolic representation of each tincture. This representation is important because many old book were not printed in color. In addition, this allows for accurate portrayal of heraldry on signet rings and other engravings.