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 Post subject: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:36 pm 
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Robin Winter sent me a note.
Masonic Symbolism is not my strong suit but with a little preliminary research I discovered I have a lot of misconceptions and the symbolism is really fascinating.
Robin Winter wrote:
Hi there, I have an item that I found while cleaning out an old apartment many years ago. It's not a gem, but I thought since you deal in antique jewellery you might know something about it, or might have an idea where I could find out more. I've spent a great deal of time trying to find something like it online, but was unsuccessful. I think it's related to the Masons, and I know the gentleman that lived in the apartment was a member of the Masons.

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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:41 pm 
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Thanks Barbara :) Been trying to figure out what this is for years, I'm guessing a token of some sort.

I didn't get a clear shot of the edges, but it looks rough and unfinished like folds of metal beaten together. It's slightly magnetic with a neodymium magnet (starts to pick up but falls), but no discernible reaction to a standard fridge magnet. In the 8 or 9 years I've had it, it's never changed how it looks, no tarnish or corrosion or anything. I'm guessing a gold plating or fill.


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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:13 pm 
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I'd throw it away if I were you. PM on its way.

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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:46 pm 
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Barbara, that's crazy talk.
A very wise man once told me, "You only fear what you don't understand."

Let's figure it out!


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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:50 pm 
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Another piece of information I thought was interesting, the absence of the G in the compass and square always intrigued me, it's been speculated that the G was introduced in the symbol sometime between 1730 and 1768. Some districts apparently omit the G, but the local districts here all include it, and I know the previous owner was a member here. So either the piece is very old or it came from somewhere other than Nova Scotia.


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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:06 pm 
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I understand Masonry, Barbra ... that's why I'd throw it out. But, to each his own.

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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:18 pm 
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What do you understand? Please explain. Don't leave us on a cliff hanger. #-o


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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:52 pm 
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I understand masonry, too, but I suspect you mean Freemasonry.


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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:11 pm 
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Yes, Al ... I mean freemasonry.

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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:44 am 
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The two pillars are symbols of dark and light. It is connected to certain rituals and meditations. Nothing to fear more than you ought to fear the ordinary rituals and prayers performed by priests. There are many ways to help people grow as humans and I guess we should not fear those but be open to that there are more ways than one...

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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:29 pm 
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=D> Conny !

I entirely agree with you !

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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:19 pm 
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Bravo, Connie!
Few things are more controversial than the descriptions of Masonic symbols and how they should be interpreted. Some Masonophobes have created entire publishing industries based on their own interpretation of such symbols, often with no factual information to support their claims. They include every logo of a company, every mark in a tree, and more. Anything, it seems with a circle, triangle, or square comes into question - and unfortunately, it's easy to get sucked into the vortex of such convoluted thinking.

So before we begin, let's start with a basic premise: if the Masons - or the evil corporations - can't use a CIRCLE (or any part of it) or a TRIANGLE (or any part of it) or even a square box, just how are they going to draw ANYTHING? Should our traffic signs be in the shape of a cucumber? Should our representations of the sun look instead like a fish? Elemental shapes in nature have ALWAYS been used because of simplicity, not because there was some inbred evil in every thing that was ever done...


Wikipedia describes the square and compass as follows:
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The Square and Compasses (or, more correctly, a square and a set of 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. Some Lodges and rituals explain these symbols as lessons in conduct: for example, Duncan's Masonic Monitor of 1866 explains them as: "The square, to square our actions; The compasses, to circumscribe and keep us within bounds with all mankind". However, as Freemasonry is non-dogmatic, there is no general interpretation for these symbols (or any Masonic symbol) that is used by Freemasonry as a whole.


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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:37 pm 
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I do not "fear" freemasonry ... nor do I see evil behind every square, triangle or circle :roll: . Since the discussion would have to go in a religious direction, though, and I know we're not to venture there, I shall say no more on the subject.

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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:48 pm 
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My interest was mainly in the history of the specific piece itself, not so much the meaning of the symbols, though any information anyone could provide is appreciated.

I was mainly wondering if there was significance to this type of token (i.e. special occasion, trade token, etc.) and an approximate time period if such a thing can be known according to it's appearance. Most modern pieces I've managed to find online have a very polished and somewhat mass produced look, this one just seems old to me, and I have an interest in old things :)

I can assure you, I'm not the least bit interested in religious discussion.....I had my fill of that a LONG time ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Curious Masonic Emblem
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:31 pm 
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Well without more information that would be difficult, Robin.
So we have to extrapolate tidbits from your what you have provided.

Commercial electroplating of nickel, brass, tin, and zinc was developed by the 1850s, but it was not until the very late 19th century with the development of electric generators that it was routinely done.
You mentioned the piece is magnetic. So what could the base metal be?
It is not brass, aluminum, copper, or zinc as none of these metals are magnetic.
Magnetic metals are limited to iron, cobalt and gadolinium and nickel.
We can presume it is iron or nickle. The heft of the piece should separate.

It appears cast to my eye, judging from the texture of the piece. On the back side, the raised bits on the bottom of the triangle may be sprue remnants.
Casting such as this was not routinely done until the 40's, 1940's.
Usually die struck items are made en masse. Like the coin you have used for scale.

My research indicates that many compass and square symbols do not contain a G, even more recently than the 18th century. China is producing gold plated iron Masonic tokens today with the square and compass, no G. They are rectangular.

As far as actually interpreting the symbolism, although it may not be of primary interest to you, it may be of interest to others. And that's why this platform exists. :D


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