10K Gold Quill Badge with 19 Pearls and 1 Diamond, c. 1920
The quote "the pen is mightier than the sword" served as Alpha Xi Delta Founder Lewie Strong Taylor's inspiration when she created the first Quill badge when the Fraternity was founded in 1893. The founders' original Quills were seven-eighths of an inch long and were mounted on stick pins. The first jeweled badge was made for Founder Cora Bollinger Block, it contained three jewels in the shaft - a sapphire with turquoise stones on each side. In 1911, a standard die was chosen and the Quill badge has changed little since that time. The Quill is a conventionalized gold quill with the Greek letters Alpha Xi Delta in raised and burnished gold on the barbs of the feathers. In 1911, the choice of jewels was limited to pearls and diamonds. Today, Alpha Xi Deltas can customize their badges with a variety of precious stones, including the original diamonds and pearls as well as blue aquamarine, pink rose sapphire, blue sapphire, yellow sapphire, and opal. While badges could once have as many as 21 stones, today jeweled badges are limited to either three or 15 stones. To this day, Alpha Xi Delta badges are not mass produced. Each badge is made by hand by master craftsmen at Herff Jones.