One of the most important and often the most valuable part of any Mason’s regalia is a gold ring emblazoned with the square and compass symbol of the Freemasons. The ring has been a tradition for the Masons since ancient times and is often a distinguishing feature for the common person when encountering a Mason.
As with any jewelry of good quality and craftsmanship, Masonic rings are typically not cheap. The materials, care and craftsmanship that goes into the making of a ring influences the quality and the price of the ring. Rings are usually priced based upon four important factors- karats, gram weight, craftsmanship, and design. The rings are typically made of gold and may use other precious materials in the making of the ring as well. Each of these factors provides its own set of pricing effects. That is typically determined by the crafts person who is making the ring.
The ring itself is a symbol of the Mason’s pledge to uphold the ideas of the organization and serves as a reminder of this pledge, as well as a way for Mason’s to know a brother Mason. Some rings can be outfitted with swiveled heads- one side showing a common symbol or something along those lines, which then can be swiveled in a socket built into the ring to show the Masonic symbol on the other side. This is in order to avoid unwanted advertising of the fact that a man is a Mason. Other rings will prominently display the organization’s symbol (not-moving), with the option of just turning the ring on the finger to show just the band of the ring if the Mason does not wish to let people know he is a Mason. The ring is often a way that non-Masons are able to identify a Mason, as it is the most visible symbol that a Mason often wears.
There are numerous online outlets for the purchasing of Mason rings. Some internet vendors’ rings can be ordered and shipped immediately, having been made and stored. Others vendors offer customization options and will take longer to have shipped. It is important to verify the legitimacy of an online vendor, as a Mason ring can be an expensive item. Another option can be commissioning the ring from a local jeweler. This offers a greater degree of customization, as well as the option (in some cases) of being able to negotiate price. Jewelers typically do not advertise Mason rings, as it is considered disrespectful and inappropriate for a person to wear a Mason ring without actually being a member of the Mason fraternal organization. Masons will occasionally use the rings as heirloom items, while other Masons are often buried with their rings. This may be something to investigate if the ring is being given as a gift- as there may already be a ring available to the new Mason. Some experienced Masons may be looking to purchase a new ring as well, so buying a Masonic ring is not exclusive to just new Masons.
If the ring is being given as a gift, it is helpful to consult other Masons as to where they were able to get their rings. Members of the lodge may be able to provide recommendations for good places to buy the ring, as well as providing other suggestions and help. Some lodges may have a relationship with local jewelers or may even have a Brother in the lodge who is a jeweler themselves. The ring is typically given upon initiation into the lodge, where it can then be worn by the new Brother.