During the Victorian era, the sealing wax on on the outside of a letter provided information as well as decoration. Their function was a lot like an email's subject line: a short, snappy preview of the message inside. Victorian letter-writers carefully chose seals based on their relationship to the recipient and to the sensitive nature of the tidings being conveyed. A love note might be illustrated with a heart, cupid, or sexy phrase. News of a loved one's death might be sealed with somber condolences or a symbol of grief like an urn. We've seen seals clearly meant for no-nonsense business correspondence: "For Particulars, Enquire Within". The stamps themselves were often made in gold with ivory or ornately gem-studded handles. Meant to be kept as tools on your writing desk, they were often exquisitely beautiful objects in their own right.