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Stationery Symbols

Choosing stationery is very personal. It's not only the words you write on the page that convey a message, it's the design of the stationery itself. Some people like to use monogrammed stationery, while others prefer stationery marked with an icon of some sort. The following are the traditional meanings attributed to some of the most popular symbols:

Pineapples
Pineapples were discovered in the New World by Columbus. The Spanish called the fruit pina because of its resemblance to a pinecone, and it is thought that some of the attributes of the pinecone, which symbolizes fertility and increase, were transferred to the pineapple.

Today, the pineapple primarily symbolizes hospitality. It appears frequently in the decorative arts'on gates, bedposts, and door knockers, for example. Colonial Williamsburg even has an "Order of the Pineapple" for employees who have been cited for repeated kindness to strangers. The pineapple also carries undertones of wealth and elegance, probably because of its exoticism. When the fruit began to be cultivated in the hothouses of seventeenth-century Europe, the wealthy would use it to adorn banquet tables, and it was used by political cartoonists during the Napoleonic Wars to symbolize extravagance.

Bees
Honey was the first sweetener known to primitive people, and beekeeping has been an occupation of people all over the world for millennia. Honey itself is a symbol of sweetness and abundance, while bees, in their highly organized colonies, symbolize industry and prosperity. Since they're ruled by a queen, they also signify all that is royal and imperial. Bees have long been associated as well with eloquence and speech; in legend, they settled on the mouth of Plato, as well as that of Ambrose, the patron saint of beekeepers.

Butterflies
The butterfly is a symbol of beauty in nature; it is an emblem of delicate perfection in color, shape, pattern, and symmetry. To the ancient Greeks, the butterfly was a symbol of the soul. Butterflies also represent femininity and youthfulness, while their metamorphosis from caterpillar stage signifies transformation and new life.