The seal and the spoon with the d'Urberville crest are the only things the Durbeyfields have left from their noble heritage. The smallness and uselessness of the items is a symbol of how the d'Urberville name means nothing anymore in terms of real wealth or influence. Tess thinks angrily of them as essentially causing her misfortunes by proving her kinship to the wealthy d'Urbervilles. They are also associated with the old tombs of the d'Urberville knights, which again seem grand but are in effect worthless, full of nothing but the dead.
Seal and Spoon Symbol Timeline in Tess of the d'Urbervilles
The timeline below shows where the symbol Seal and Spoon appears in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...and cannot see her. Eventually Tess explains her purpose to Alec, describing her family's crest-inscribed seal and spoon as proofs that they are true d'Urbervilles. Alec lies and says that he has the... (full context)
...vaults lie. The stained glass windows are marked with emblems like those on the family's seal and spoon . Joan and Liza-Lu go looking for food and encounter Alec on horseback. They reluctantly... (full context)