Masonic Jewels

The collections of the Ulster Folk Museum include an extensive range of Masonic jewels, reflecting many aspects of Free Masonry.

Free Masonry is regarded as one of the world’s oldest fraternal societies. The Grand Lodge of Ireland describes itself as ‘the second oldest Grand Lodge’. Allegory and symbolism are very important in Free Masonry, which is sometimes described as ‘a society with secrets, rather than a secret society’. The exact meaning of Masonic symbolism, which functions as a model for improving the character of the individual, is therefore known only to members.

Past Master’s Jewel

Past Master’s Jewel

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Mason’s Mark

Mason’s Mark

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St Columb's Royal Arch Chapter

St Columb's Royal Arch Chapter

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Masonic Founder’s Jewel

Masonic Founder’s Jewel

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Royal Arch Masonic Board of General Purposes

Royal Arch Masonic Board of General Purposes

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Orpheus Lodge No.426

Orpheus Lodge No.426

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The Flavelle Lodge

The Flavelle Lodge

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Saint Finbarre’s Lodge

Saint Finbarre’s Lodge

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Masonic Founder's Jewel

Masonic Founder's Jewel

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Commemorative Masonic Jewel

Commemorative Masonic Jewel

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Masonic collar and jewel

Masonic collar and jewel

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Masonic jewel

Masonic jewel

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Masonic Founder’s and Past Master’s jewel

Masonic Founder’s and Past Master’s jewel

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Prince Mason’s jewel

Prince Mason’s jewel

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Masonic Lodge of Research

Masonic Lodge of Research

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Past Master’s Jewel

Image: Past Master’s Jewel.
HOYFM.65.1997. Total length 12 cms (approx.)
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Past Master’s Jewel. HOYFM.65.1997. Total length 12 cms (approx.) © National Museums Northern Ireland

The Compass and Square with the letter G is sometimes used as a general symbol of Free Masonry. In Ireland, this combination denotes the Past Master of a Lodge.

This example, mounted on azure ribbon, is from the Thomas Campbell Memorial Lodge 489, which is based in Lisburn, County Antrim. An inscription on back of the pendant states that is was presented to W. Bro. J F Mills. W. M. in 1953. (W. Bro: Worshipful Brother, W. M.: Worshipful Master).

 

Mason’s Mark

Mason’s Mark (front)
HOYFM.18.1997. Diameter 2.5 cms © National Museums Northern Ireland
Mason’s Mark (front) HOYFM.18.1997. Diameter 2.5 cms © National Museums Northern Ireland
Mason’s Mark (back)
HOYFM.18.1997
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Mason’s Mark (back) HOYFM.18.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

The Mason’s Mark token is important in Free Masonry in Ireland.

This token relates to Lodge 46, which was based in Comber, County Down and is now closed. One side features a gavel and chisel. The other has a border inscription, ‘They Received Every Man a Penny', and a centrepiece of keystone which features a sequence of letters and a circle.

 

St Columb's Royal Arch Chapter

Image: St Columb's Royal Arch Chapter. Total length 13 cms (approx.) HOYFM.17.1997
© National Museums Northern Ireland
St Columb's Royal Arch Chapter. Total length 13 cms (approx.) HOYFM.17.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

This pendant, mounted on red ribbon, relates to St Columb's Royal Arch Chapter No 640, Londonderry. The ribbon carries enamel with the coat of arms of the City of Derry on a blue ground. The circular jewel is decorated with red enamel, and is surmounted by a five pointed crown which carries highlights in green and red enamel. This is laid over a crossed sword and sceptre. The outer band of jewel is inscribed 'Talia si Jungere Possis sit Tibi Scire Satis', within which is a red enamelled six pointed star made up of two triangles. One triangle is inscribed 'We have found Eyphkamen Invenimus', the other 'Cultor Dei Civis Mundi'. At the base of the jewel, a scrolling shape encloses a Tau cross. An inscription on the back of the jewel states that it was presented to E Comp S Graham PK by the members of St Columb's RAC No 640, Londonderry, 22/11/34. (Excellent Companion S Graham Past King).

 

Masonic Founder’s Jewel

Image: Masonic Founder’s Jewel on azure ribbon (faded). Total length 9 cms (approx.)
HOYFM.34.1997
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Masonic Founder’s Jewel on azure ribbon (faded). Total length 9 cms (approx.) HOYFM.34.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

This enamelled jewel belonged to a founder member of Calen Lodge, 475, which appears to have been constituted during 1920. It features the Roman god Mercury (Greek, Hermes) with his caduceus or staff, surrounded by snakes.

 

Royal Arch Masonic Board of General Purposes

Image: Enamel Pin, Royal Arch Masonic Board of General Purposes. Total length 4.5 cms (approx.) HOYFM.47.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland
Enamel Pin, Royal Arch Masonic Board of General Purposes. Total length 4.5 cms (approx.) HOYFM.47.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

This jewel features several important Masonic symbols, including the chequered floor, pillars, arch and keystone. The eye within the sunburst is also a significant emblem. The centrepiece of interlaced triangles is similar to that found on the Past King’s jewel.

 

Orpheus Lodge No.426

Image: Masonic Jewel, Orpheus Lodge No.426. Total length 7.5 cms (approx) HOYFM.51.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland
Masonic Jewel, Orpheus Lodge No.426. Total length 7.5 cms (approx) HOYFM.51.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

Founder's jewel for the Orpheus Lodge, which is situated in Dublin, and which was apparently constituted in 1917.

The back of the jewel is inscribed ‘Bro W J Burns Treas[urer].' It is mounted on azure ribbon which is now faded.

Orpheus was venerated as a musician by the ancient Greeks, and is strongly associated with the lyre, which he shown playing here to an audience of animals. This is one of several jewels reflecting aspects of ancient Greek or Roman mythology.

 

 

The Flavelle Lodge

Image: Masonic Jewel, The Flavelle Lodge
HOYFM.54.1997. Total length 8 cms (approx.)
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Masonic Jewel, The Flavelle Lodge HOYFM.54.1997. Total length 8 cms (approx.) © National Museums Northern Ireland

Founder’s jewel for the Flavelle Lodge, which was apparently constituted in 1921.

Some Masonic Lodges are founded in memory of a particular individual, and presumably the slightly damaged enamel portrait shown here is of Mr Flavelle, who is seen wearing an azure collarette. The back of the jewel is inscribed 'Bro F R Tully'. It is mounted on azure ribbon (now faded) which also carries a star device.

 

Saint Finbarre’s Lodge, No 209

Image: Masonic jewel, Saint Finbarre’s Lodge, No 209
HOYFM.55.1997. Total length 8.5 cms (approx)
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Masonic jewel, Saint Finbarre’s Lodge, No 209 HOYFM.55.1997. Total length 8.5 cms (approx) © National Museums Northern Ireland

This Founder’s jewel features the coat of arms of Cork City, and is mounted on azure ribbon.

The Anglican Cathedral in Cork is dedicated to St Fin Barre, an early mediaeval bishop who is also commemorated by St Finnbarr’s Hospital and in many other ways in the city.

 

 

Masonic Founder's Jewel

Image: Masonic Founders Jewel.
HOYFM.56.1997. Total length 9  cms (approx) © National Museums Northern Ireland
Masonic Founders Jewel. HOYFM.56.1997. Total length 9 cms (approx) © National Museums Northern Ireland

This jewel shows that the Minerva Lodge No 2141C was constituted in June, 1923.

The lodge is based in Dublin. Minerva, whose Greek equivalent is Athene, is the goddess of wisdom and is often depicted wearing a helmet.

 

Commemorative Masonic Jewel

Image: Commemorative Masonic Jewel. Total length 9 cms (approx) HOYFM.59.1997
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Commemorative Masonic Jewel. Total length 9 cms (approx) HOYFM.59.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

This commemorative jewel was issued by Island of Inch Lodge No 589, which is based in Londonderry. It is mounted on azure ribbon, which carries a bar decorated with Celtic interlace.

The royal blue enamelled five pointed star is inscribed 'Masonic Lodge Island of Inch No 589, 1781, 1931'. The maker was Walter Bedford, Jeweller, Watchmaker and Silversmith.

 

Masonic collar and jewel

Image: Masonic collar and jewel. Total length of jewel 7 cms (approx.) HOYFM.61.1997
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Masonic collar and jewel. Total length of jewel 7 cms (approx.) HOYFM.61.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

Masonic collar and jewel relating to Abercorn Preceptory 93, which is in the Metropolitan area, Dublin, and was constituted in 1846.

The collar is of red and ivory coloured ribbon. The jewel features a crown surmounted by an orb and Maltese cross, with a white enamel Maltese cross which has lions between the points. The centrepiece features a red enamelled band inscribed 'Abercorn Preceptory 93', which surrounds a red enamel Tau cross on a white ground. The back of the jewel is inscribed 'Presented to E Sir Kt N F Gifford E P 1948'. (Excellent Sir Knight).

 

Masonic jewel

Image: Masonic jewel, enamel on azure ribbon. Total length 6 cms. HOYFM.76.1997
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Masonic jewel, enamel on azure ribbon. Total length 6 cms. HOYFM.76.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

Masonic jewel relating to Victory lodge 478, which is based in the Metropolitan area, Dublin.

The enamel features a winged figure of Victory (Greek, Nike) carrying a sheaf and a wreath.

 

Masonic Founder’s and Past Master’s jewel

Image: Masonic Founder’s and Past Master’s jewel. Total length 11 cms. HOYFM.98.1997
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Masonic Founder’s and Past Master’s jewel. Total length 11 cms. HOYFM.98.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

This jewel with its picturesque enamel must have belonged to someone who was both a founder member and Past Master of Corlea lodge 790, Antrim. The lodge appears to have been constituted in 1949.

 

Prince Mason’s jewel

Prince Mason’s jewel (front). Total length 7 cms (approx.)
HOYFM.88.1997
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Prince Mason’s jewel (front). Total length 7 cms (approx.) HOYFM.88.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland
Prince Mason’s jewel (back). Total length 7 cms (approx.)
HOYFM.88.1997
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Prince Mason’s jewel (back). Total length 7 cms (approx.) HOYFM.88.1997 © National Museums Northern Ireland

This jewel is associated with the eighteenth degree in Freemasonry. It is sometimes called the ‘rose croix’.

The meaning of the symbolism will be known only to initiates of this senior degree. However, the pelican plucking her breast to feed her chicks is a well known symbol of altruism, which may relate to the charitable aspect of Freemasonry. The symbol may also be associated with belief in resurrection.

On the back of the jewel, the pelican appears to be replaced by a soaring eagle.

 

Masonic Lodge of Research

Image: Jewel, Masonic Lodge of Research. Total length 7 cms (approx.) HOYFM.1165.1993
© National Museums Northern Ireland
Jewel, Masonic Lodge of Research. Total length 7 cms (approx.) HOYFM.1165.1993 © National Museums Northern Ireland

Past Masters of Masonic lodges may become members of the Lodge of Research, which exists to support of the history and symbolism of freemasonry.

The bars mounted on the azure ribbon are inscribed 'September 1914', and ‘W M 1919’. The central decoration includes an oil lamp, an open book and branches, apparently of acacia, on a sunburst.