During the medieval period, seals were widely used in trading to ensure the authenticity and security of a document or letter. Bronze seals were a possession of the wealthy, since they cost more to produce than lead seals, and had a longer life span on account of the metal’s hardness. The social status of the owner was reflected in the size of the seal, with the combination of motif and text providing further insight into the owner’s identity, such as their place in a family.
Saint Stephen The Deacon (who died circa 35 AD), was the disciple chosen by the Apostles as the first of the Seven Deacons. He is often depicted with a group of stones, which were the cause of his death and martyrdom. This stoning came at the instigation of the Sanhedrin, and was witnessed by St Paul. His celebration day is 26th December.