Sable

denotes- of the ages of man, the last; of attributes, wisdom, prudence, integrity, singleness of mind; of birds, the raven or crow; of elements, the earth; ofmetals, iron or lead; of planets, Saturn; of precious stones, the diamond; of trees, the olive; of animals, a sort of weasel.

Sable

black. Expressed in heraldry by horizontal lines crossing perpendicular ones. In English heraldry escutcheons are varied by seven colours; foreign heralds add two more

A suit of sables.
A rich courtly dress. By the statute of apparel (24 Henry VIII. c. 13) it is ordained that none under the degree of an earl shall use sables. Bishop tells us that a thousand ducats were sometimes given for a “face of sables” (Blossoms, 1577). Ben Johnson says, “Would you not laugh to meet a great councillor of state in a flat cap, with trunk-hose ... and yond haberdasher in a velvet gown trimmed with sables?” (Discoveries.

“So long? Nay, then, let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables.” —Shakespeare: Hamlet, iii. 2.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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