The use of wax seals dates back to the Middle Ages. At first, seals were the exclusive purview of royalty in issuing decrees and authenticating documents. Each individual had his or her own seal, and in a time when many were illiterate, they were used in place of a signature. It was common practice to destroy a seal when its owner died to prevent posthumous forgeries.
It wasn’t until the late 13th century that the use of seals spread to the general public. In a time when marriages were prearranged, true words of love were often written and exchanged by secret lovers. A seal secured the letter, ensuring the recipient that their secret passion would remain unbeknownst to others.