History of Monograms

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By Shira Blank

Monograms have been around for centuries and today can be seen everywhere you look. Custom made towels, bathrobes, mugs, and suitcases can all be personalized with the distinct three letter monogram. Major fashion retailers, including Louis Vuitton, Guccio Gucci, and Coco Chanel have incorporated the use of their monogram into their logo design, which can be seen everywhere. Monogram jewelry is the latest fashion trend hitting the streets. Everyone from famous celebrities to the everyday-mom can be seen walking around with monogram necklaces, bracelets, and other pieces of personalized monogrammed jewelry. Rather that showing off the full name with a name necklace, a monogram necklace adds an air of mystery and intrigue – everyone wants to know just what those letters stand for! It is not uncommon to open up a jewelry box and see numerous pieces featuring monograms.

Origins of Monogram Jewelry

But just where did the trend of monogramming jewelry (and other products) come from?

Many historians are in agreement that early Roman and Greek rulers were the first to use the monogram. Coins were monogramed to recognize the ruler from a particular area. These coins were first created to aid with the transition to a monetary system from the much older and quickly outdating bartering system.

Example of
RHL Monogram

During the Middle Ages, monograms were used by local artisans and craftsmen to mark their work – add their signature to the item. For example, today art curators are able to identify when famous artist Rembrandt created his paintings. His earlier pieces were monogramed RH, while later pieces were more formally monogrammed with RHL.

Monograms also showed up in heraldic symbols, tartans, and family crests of the European feudal lords. Monarchs used monograms as the symbol for their kingdom and would be seen on police badges, armor, flags, and important documents.

Monograms were first utilized for personal use during the Victorian Era. First monograms were sewn to linens so they would not get lost during in the wash. Later on, however, monograms were used for decorative purposes, including mirrors, silverware, and lockets. They were also used for status and family. Monograms were used to symbolize a family’s place in society. It is said that the proliferation of monograms for personal use was really started during this period. (Louis Vuitton started in 1876!)

It is during this period in time where the traditional look of a monogram was created – with the first initial on the left, the middle initial on the right, and then the last initial in the middle, a bit larger than the initials to each side of it. Today, many monograms are created using this standard design.

It’s definitely time for you to get yourself monogrammed! Find your monogram necklace from MyNameNecklace’s large selection of monogram jewelry!

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