We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Sealing Wax?

By Jane Harmon
Updated Feb 24, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Sealing wax is used to seal envelopes. It originated in the days when envelopes did not come with glue on the flap, leaving no way to seal them. The answer was to tip a lit candle over the envelope, allowing a few drops of wax too pool at the flap's edge. This was stamped with an inscribed stem, called a seal. Sealing wax contains resin or other components to make it hard and glossy, to better hold the shape of the seal that is pressed into the wax when it is still soft.

In days of old, sealing wax was both a method to ensure that your communication was secure--a broken seal would reveal spies or treachery in your messenger service--and to authenticate the sender. You would know the proclamation came from the king if the king's seal was affixed to it, since only the king or his trusted scribe would have access to the seal.

The advent of gummed envelopes led to a decline in the use of sealing wax, although it was still made and used to add a touch of glamor, particularly on wedding invitations. More recently, automated mail sorting equipment in the postal system is likely to break or strip a wax seal off an envelop, so sealing wax is more often used on the inner envelope of invitations, if it is used at all.

A more flexible form of sealing wax, known as faux sealing wax, purports to be able to survive being handled by sorting machinery. It is slightly rubbery and can bend without breaking, unlike the more brittle resinous wax. Also available are round sealing wax sticks that fit into standard size glue guns.

You can obtain seals for sealing wax in your initials, a single initial, or other designs. Roses, hearts, cats, religious symbols, or hobby-related designs, plus literally hundreds of other images are available. People choose seals that are meaningful to them or representative of them in some way.

Today, seals and sealing wax are mainly used in scrapbooking, to decorate a certificate to be framed, or to emphasize your intent when penning affirmations or prayers.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.