Monogramming is a timeless design that has endured for centuries. It is a combination of letters that interlock to create a beautiful elegant motif that embodies your story. But where did monograms begin?
Around 350 BC Greek cities used initials on their coins and other public items. For example if you lived in Achaea you would find alpha (A) and chi (X) around the city and on the currency.
Later, royal families used monograms for insignia and renaissance artists began using their initials to mark their creation. One can identify an early Rembrandt from a later piece simply by his monogram. In the beginning, he used a simple one letter form but later used a more traditional combination of two.
The three letter form did not come into full fashion until the 16th century. From this time until the 19th century only the upper class and aristocracy owned monogrammed items. They used it primarily on their items of silver, china and jewelry. Here is a 19th century pin that belonged to my husband's grandmother. We know from the letters that she possessed it before she was married.
Today, in the 21st century, monograms are much easier to come by. One can tell alot about a person by their monogram. For example, if someone's monogram has a script type font you might guess that they are a more traditional, formal or girly person. Conversely, if they have more straight Roman type letters then you might determine that they are a “less is more” classic or informal style person.
The neat thing about a monogram is that it sets you apart from other people. They are your unique combination of letters and distinguish you from everyone else!
So how do you decide what letters to use? This is where Monogram Etiquette comes in. Let's start with a female's initials. If Sarah Grace Helvenston wants all of her initials to be the same height then they would be in order: SGH
If she wants the middle inital larger then it would be first, last, middle: SHG
If Sarah is married to Charles and she wanted some of her china monogrammed, then it would be female first, married last name middle, male last. For example: SHC
Now some of you only have a first and last name. If so, then only use two initals. Remember that was all that was used before the 16th century.
For those of you with more challenging last names like Regina Leigh Van Camp there is a monogram for you. If you want three initials you would do RVC. If you're married to Peter Van Camp then it is RCP.
The monogram options are limitless today. Think about who you are purchasing for and what their personality is like. Then start looking at font options that fit your character.
I hope this help you begin the monogramming process. It is truly a special gift when it is monogrammed!