The Masonic Ring

July 24, 2022 Clark No comments exist

An article by VW Bro. Barry D. Thom, St. Clair Lodge # 577
GL of Canada in the Prov. of Ontario
(copied from Freemasons of Manitoba eNews July 24, 2022)


I was asked me if I would compose a paper on the Masonic ring. At that point, I had never thought about this as a subject. First of all, why do we wear a ring? If the ring is large with rhinestones and glitter, it might be ego as it attracts the attention of those that are not Masons. Is this good or bad? If the emblem is small, then it is only so that other Masons, unknown to us, see that another Brother is in their presence. So, then it is merely a method of identification.


During the 18th and 19th centuries Masonic rings gained popularity among Freemasons. The Square and Compasses joined together is the single most identifiable symbol of Freemasonry. Both the square and compasses are architect’s tools and are used in Masonic ritual as emblems to teach symbolic lessons.


Our rituals explain these symbols as lessons in conduct; “The square, to square our actions; the compasses, to circumscribe and keep us within bounds with all mankind”.


In North America, the square and compasses are usually depicted with the letter “G” in the center. England does not use the ‘G’ in the centre.


In the beginning the letter G stood for Geometry. How far back the letter G was used to represent geometry can only be guessed at. It did show up in 1525, printed in a book. It was shown on the base of a pillar enclosed by the square and compasses.

In a Samuel Pritchard’s expose, printed in 1730 we see the following:


Q: Why were you made a Fellow Craft?

A: For the sake of the letter G.

Q: What does it signify?

A: Geometry.

Q: Why Geometry?

A: Because it is the root and foundation of all Arts and Sciences.

In 1766, we see it expanded upon:

Q: What does the G denote?

A: Glory, Grandeur and Geometry or the fifth science. Glory for God, Grandeur for the Master of the lodge, and Geometry for the Brothers.


Only Master Masons are given permission to wear a Masonic ring. By wearing the ring, it shows that the brother is a full -fledged Mason. Brothers often ask which finger do they wear their ring on? There is no right or wrong finger or hand to wear the Masonic ring on. Most married men wear them on the opposite hand from which they wear a wedding ring, that being on the 3rd finger from the thumb.


The true value of a piece of jewelry is what it means to the person who wears it. Wedding rings are used to remind the wearer of his/her commitment towards their partner. Masonic rings perform a similar function as they remind the Mason who wears the ring, of his commitment to the fraternity and the values and principles which are promoted by Freemasonry.


When the emblem of the square and compasses is depicted on a building, or a button, universal custom requires that the points of the compasses point downward. During an Obligation, they are displayed on the Altar and point towards the Candidate, therefore, many feel that Masons should wear the ring with the points towards him. Here in Nfld. and Labrador it is a custom that when you are the Master of a lodge, you reverse the direction. The reasoning is that when you gave the Obligation to a Candidate that was the direction of the S. and C. on the VOSL. This also tells another Brother that you are a Master or Past Master. However, the bottom line is that there is no rule.

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