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Grandfather's Masonic Emblem

by Mary McGowan
(Fayetteville, GA USA)

I have my grandfather's gold Masonic emblem on a watch fob. Can I wear Grandfather's Masonic emblem?

I am a female (age 70) and want to know if I can have it put on my gold charm bracelet.

My grandfather and my father were both Masons and my father was also a Shriner. I have both his Shrine lapel pins and would love to incorporate them on my bracelet, also, if this would be an acceptable thing to do.

Hello Mary,

This is an excellent question and one that, due to the spiritual nature of Freemasonry, many people don't fully understand.

Freemasonry is a fraternity of men who believe in a Supreme Creator and, who choose of their own free will, to live their lives under our Creator's watchful eye, in brotherhood and harmony with all other men on the globe.

The wearing of your relatives' Masonic jewelry undoubtedly may make you feel closer to them and what they stood for and I applaud and fully understand your wish to honor their memory.

However, as Freemasons, here is how your father and grandfather would probably feel about this.

Freemasonry is somewhat akin to taking a private walk along life's highway, with God as your companion.

The reason Freemasonry is said to "Make Good Men Better" is because of the personal choice made by each man,... of their own free will, to be known as a man of good character.

In so doing, Freemasons must refrain from besmurching their personal character or the character of their fraternity of like-minded men with any form of wrong-doing.

Masonic memorabilia such as a Masonic apron, Masonic ring, Masonic lapel pin, cufflinks, Shrine jewelry, Scottish Rite jewelry, York Rite jewelry or any accompanying Masonic regalia is purchased by a Freemason after their having personally,... both physically and spiritually, mastered Freemasonry's many specific degrees.

While each degree is different in its underlying theme, each degree teaches honor and friendship as well as brotherhood and charity to all mankind, all under the watchful eye of the Supreme Architect of the Universe.

Freemasonry is the attempt to live in peaceful harmony with one another, while attempting to find and maintain a spiritual path.

Each degree builds on the preceding degree. The culmination of becoming a Master Mason

is the ultimate and never ending quest for more light (knowledge)of that which our Creator wishes for him.

It is by virtue of this very private, personal, spiritual and continuing "Walk with God" that each of these men, in reverence, circumambulate around lodge altars around the world, each of which is dedicated to our Creator.

Thus, becoming a Freemason is to continue to quest for more light,...more knowledge,....and to seek to fulfill our Creator's plan for each of us.

No matter how dear a non-Freemason is, was or has been to a Freemason, the simple truth is that when a non-Freemason chooses to wear Freemason emblems, such as those of a special relative in their lives, they are, in actuality, usurping a piece of that special relationship that was earned by the Freemason, himself.

In other words, this would be somewhat synonymous with wearing an Olympic medal or Olympic ring that was purchased from E-Bay.

Other Olympians who understood the years of work involved, the mental and physical training and the total focus required to earn the prize of being "the best of the best", would view the buyer who proudly chose to wear such a ring as a person who is simply wearing an insignia that was unearned and not rightfully theirs.

Their view of him is as a person who never ran the race and never stood in that private Winner's Circle with God and mankind proudly rejoicing in the knowledge that they had fulfilled God's plans for them.

It is for this reason that members of the Freemason fraternity,... those who are still "running the race", feel an inner sadness for the departed Freemason whenever a non-Freemason (even though they are a relative), chooses to wear "Grandfather's Masonic Emblem".

This is how a true Freemason views this subject.

Now that you are aware of the spiritual nature of these emblems which you have inherited, the choice, of course, remains with you.

Thank you for writing to request more 'light' about this subject, Mary.

In helping you to understand the spiritual depth of wearing "Grandfather's Masonic Emblem", I join with each and every other Freemason around the world in continuing to honor your father's and grandfather's memories as members of the Freemason fraternity.

Yours in the faith,


Comments for Grandfather's Masonic Emblem

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Jan 27, 2014
Masonic Jewelry: A very beautiful article!
by: Eileen

You answered the question with such warmth and truth. I could feel my Dad's thoughts and Grandfathers' too in which you expressed your opinion with wearing a Masonic Emblem of a family member.

You made me feel that I was with my Dad again - during those great days of Masonic Temple picnics and Christmas parties. Sadly, my dear Dad and dear Grandfathers (all 32nd Masons) are no longer with us. I feel they are up in heaven and enjoying being with one another and look down upon me and keep me safe.

My Mom gave my son my Dad's ring while he was in the "Operation Iraqi Freedom" war and every time he "jumped" with the 82nd into a hot spot, he felt Dad protected him!

I now have the ring again, my son knows it makes me feel that much closer to Dad who taught me so much about life and with his love made me feel I could tackle difficulties along the way. I will always have his love, encouragement and pride.

God bless all of you!!

Dec 24, 2013
Gifting a Masonic Piece of Jewelry
by: Anonymous

My grandfather was a Freemason. When my grandfather passed away my step-grandma received the ring. My mother would like the ring because it reminds her of great time spent with her family before my grandparents got divorced.

When I asked my step-grandma about the ring, she said she could not give it to anyone because it was against the rules. Anyone who is not a Freemason cannot own the ring. I asked what she planned on doing when she passed away. She said she was going to donate it to the Freemason lodge in her area. My question is, "can she give it to my mother?"


Simon's Reply:

Your step-grandmother can gift the ring to whomever she chooses.

Thanks for writing!


Jan 16, 2013
Masonic Emblem Worn By Non-Members
by: Anonymous

Yes, it is an other generation. Be honest and do not wear a Doctor ring and visit a hospital, please. Thanks.

Simon's Reply:

This Freemason has answered how he feels about non-Masons wearing a Masonic ring which symbolizes a fraternity to which they have never been a member.

Would any other Freemasons care to share how they feel about non-Mason family members wearing Masonic jewelry?

Thank you.


Dec 16, 2012
He IS proud I Wear His Masonic Ring
by: Nancy

While I appreciate everything you say about how jewelery represents the brotherhood, and respect your thoughts, please appreciate and know that I live by my Father's example.

He was an extraordinary man and his lessons, and my life, have taught me a great deal. I wear his ring, and will forever do so, knowing that his example continues to lead me in the direction to which he would be proud.

As with you, I wear it with strength, conviction and honour. I understand your conviction and ask that you believe that I wear his ring as a symbol of how the brotherhood of integrity is passed down, not just through sons, but daughters as well.

I know, and each and every day, I live by the doctrines passed down by my Father. He would have laughed. Apparently, I should have been a boy! He would have been, and undoubtedly is, proud of the fact I wear his ring.

Jan 23, 2012
Are There Women Freemasons?
by: Adam

There are no such things as Female Freemasons, there are certain "clubs" with women and even men who call themselves Freemasons.

There are however, no such thing as a true female Freemason. Only men are allowed to be Freemasons, that is the way it is and always has been.

There are sister organizations out there that follow along a similar path as Freemasonry and they are the O.E.S. "Order of the Eastern Stars", but they are not Freemasons.

Fraternally Yours,


Simon's Reply:

Dear Adam,

Are There Women Freemasons?

Yes indeed, there are women Freemasons.

Their numbers are much smaller than men's Freemasonry, but I expect that this will change, since, if my mail is any indication, women are quite interested in joining women-only Freemason lodges.

Here is the website for Women's Freemasonry in London:

The Order Of Women Freemasons

Here is the website for Women's Freemasonry in the U.S.:

Women Freemasons in the U.S.A."

Here is a page I've written about Women Freemasons:

Women Freemasons

I hope this is helpful to you.

Yours in the faith,

Simon Pierce

Jan 12, 2012
Great Grandfather's Masonic Rings
by: Kathleen

My great grandfather left me two rings, his Mason ring and Shriner ring. I have only worn them a few times, and every time I do, he is on my mind stronger than ever. I love that.

I am lucky to have them, and although I respect the earning of those rings, I, as a woman, know I am not welcome in the Mason's fraternity, but was still gifted these rings from a man who knew exactly what they represented and still placed them in my custody. To each his own. He was a smart man, and he knew what he was doing by giving them to me.

I wear them proudly, knowing that he was a man of good character and Godliness, and that his strong values were passed down as if they were embedded in his DNA.

Simon's Reply:

I receive a lot of mail from women who would like to be Freemasons because they understand what it means in terms of exemplary character, reputation and spirituality.

As you know, Kathleen, Freemasonry is a male-only fraternity. I don't think that will change any time, soon. However, if my mailbag is any indication, perhaps Grand Lodges should begin to consider exploring a method for women to have a separate women-only membership in which they could utilize the same lodges (with separate meeting times and days) and be under the same Grand Lodge jurisdiction as its male members are, now.

I, alone, cannot speak for the fraternity of Regular Freemasonry, but, this would seem to be a sensible approach to this issue in terms of membership and lodge utilization.

Thank you for writing to share your feelings, Kathleen. I appreciate it.


Dec 02, 2011
Can I Wear My Masonic Jewelry?
by: Linda

I found your web site while doing research on a token I had recently found. The token reads "
O-B,trade mark Ostby & Barton, Co., Seamless GoldShell, Providence RI." on one side and "Rings, Card Jewelry, O-B on the other.

For those who don't know the company, their history is interesting.

(Linda, I have removed your Ostby & Barton information, as I believe you may have found it on my page Ostby Barton Masonic Ring.

For others reading this page, the link, above, provides a bit of history about the jeweler who made these rings about a century ago.)

Back to Linda:

Now, back to the reason for adding my two cents worth of information to your site.....if I were the owner of a wonderful Masonic piece from my father, I would wear it proudly and think of him every time I looked at it.

I would proudly tell everyone who asked that it belonged to my father and I wear it to honor his memory. I know he would want me to do this rather than have something so precious sit in a box, collecting dust.

What better way to show your own pride in your father's devotion and passion than by wearing his Masonic jewelry.

Thank you for your wonderful site - I have enjoyed every page.


Simon's Reply:

Hello Linda,

Ostby Barton rings truly are fine works of art.

Traditionally, Masonic rings and Masonic jewelry are worn by Freemasons. To a Freemason, each symbol upon the jewelry has symbolic meaning which they were taught, which they lived by, which they believed in and were proud of. Masonic jewelry is a form of recognition between brothers who believe in universal brotherhood among men.

I receive emails quite often asking: "Can I wear my Masonic jewelry?"

To relatives who have inherited these pieces of jewelry, even if they understand the meaning of the symbols, these pieces of jewelry still remain as simply pieces of memorabilia, a remembrance of a special person they cherished in their life.

They embrace these pieces of jewelry for their beauty, their monetary value and to hold that person's memory close to them. I can fully understand the underlying sentiment.

This, however, does not change the Masonic tradition of members of the fraternity as being the only ones who have earned the right to wear Masonic jewelry.

I, personally, didn't create this centuries-old tradition and I cannot change it, nor would I attempt to try to do so. It is part of what it means to have earned the right to be a Freemason. To change it, would be to remove a small piece of what Freemasonry means to other Freemasons around the globe.

You now know the fraternity's stance about non-Freemasons wearing Masonic jewelry.

Whether you choose to wear the Masonic jewelry which you have inherited is up to you.

Thanks for writing.

Simon Pierce

Nov 14, 2011
Can I Wear Grandfather's Masonic Emblem?
by: Anonymous

To Wear The Ring or Not Wear The Ring...That is the Question

I just now ran across this post and I am sorry that it took so long for me to read this. This is a great topic. There will be strong opinions either way and I understand them all. For the record... I am a Master Mason. I also belong to many other Masonic organizations. I will now attempt to explain my opinion on this matter.

The ring is just only a ring. Before everyone gets all excited here... I wear one, too. It is NOT a badge of honor. We have other emblems that recognize that. No where in Masonic ritual or any other ancient landmarks is there an explanation or requirement to wear the ring. Those of us who wear it are proud to.

If one wishes to wear the ring, then they should, and I would simply ask... "Are you a Mason?" I suspect the correct answer would follow.

Simon's Reply:

You make a good point. I know that many, many wives, daughters, granddaughters and other relatives wear Masonic memorabilia as a keepsake of their loved ones.

Please do not misunderstand my intent. It is not my intent to remove any happiness that they may experience by wearing it, themselves. I just want them to know that a Masonic ring or other Masonic item was earned by its original owner for attempting to live an exemplary life.

Its original meaning can become blurred and a little less meaningful if it is worn as an unearned memento, rather than for its original, intended purpose.

That said, once again, if they own it, they may choose what to do with it.

Thank you for your comments, Anonymous. Since you felt strongly enough about this issue to write, is there a reason why you were uncomfortable in signing your name?


Jun 06, 2011
Another alternative answer
by: Doug


I agree strongly with the first poster who likens it to wearing an Olympic medal. Unearned accolades do not earn you anything.

Having said that, there is an alternative. Women have become Masons for many years. From what I have come to understand, the degrees, goals and such are the same.

The two Masonic organizations do not allow visitation or recognize each other. Nonetheless, there is such a thing as Lady Masons.

You may want to consider investigating that, become a Mason yourself and then wear your Grandfather's jewelry, properly and with honor.

May 02, 2011
Hand Carved Medallion
by: Anonymous

I have my fathers medallion he wore on his watch and at one time I wore it as a necklace but now I keep it in a safe place and take it out and look at it and remember my good times with him.

I have never seen one like my Dad's and I know that it was hand carved in Germany over 150 yrs ago.

Had it priced just for the gold 6 mos. ago and it was 850.00 dollars. Not for sale

Feb 17, 2011
Grandfather's masonic Emblem
by: Gene Goldman

"Your rings are your possessions, and since you own them, naturally, you are at liberty to do with them as you wish."

Exactly, my Brother. And her Grandfather's emblems are now her property, and the exact same logic applies, does it not?

"In requesting information as to the fraternity's stance about these types of personal Masonic emblems, Mary was concerned about the propriety of wearing them, herself, even in a different form, such as bracelet charms. She wanted to honor her relatives in a very personal way."

Exactly, and I think it is a fine idea.

"My answer to her describes the fraternity's age-old stance about Masonic emblems worn by non-Freemasons."

Question for you, my brother. When my wife drives my car with a couple of Masonic emblems visible (if not prominent) for all to see, what does your "fraternity's age-old stance" say about that?

Seems to me that the fraternity's age-old stance tends to change - as perhaps it should. There was a time that a meeting of Masons was not even opened without several rounds of toasts, accompanied by copious amounts of adult beverages. In some parts of the world, it is still the case. Thirty years ago, in this jurisdiction, if an applicant owned or even worked in a bar or lounge, he had to list his occupation as "restaurant" owner or worker or be disqualified. Currently, alcohol may be served at dinners and other events but Lodge funds may not be used.

It seems the fraternity's age-old stance varies according to time and space...

"Gene, since you feel somewhat differently than the fraternity in general, it might be worthwhile for you to ask your daughters how they, personally, feel about wearing your rings upon a necklace chain in the future."

Actually, my oldest doesn't like to wear jewelry, but her sister probably would. And my Niece may very well become a Mason herself. If she does, I would be most proud if she wore my ring.

I'm curious, are you speaking for the entire fraternity, or are you speaking for just your jurisdiction? Certainly, in California Masonry, there has not (to my knowledge) been any survey or poll. However,

I have discussed this very question with many California Masons (including a few Grand Masters) and a sampling of Masons from jurisdictions such as Texas, Louisiana, Illinois and Ohio.

The consensus is that it all comes down to what the individual is trying to say by wearing or displaying the emblem.

If she is saying "My Grandfather was a Mason and I am proud of the effect his membership had on him and the rest of the family", I think that is to be encouraged.

Feb 17, 2011
Grandfather's Masonic Emblem
by: Mary McGowan

To Gene Goldman:

Thanks for your remarks. You have given me something to consider. As I am a female, I don't think anyone would possibly think I was trying to portray being a Mason.

Feb 17, 2011
Another Viewpoint About Grandfather's Masonic Emblem
by: Gene Goldman

Can you wear your Grandfather's Masonic jewelry?

Of course you *can*, but the real question is if you *should*.

If you wear Masonic insignia in order to cause someone to think you are part of the fraternity when you are not, you would - in effect - be committing fraud. It may or may not be actionable under the law, but most certainly would be wrong.

However, if you want to wear something in loving memory of him, and in your design of the new jewelery you make no representation of being a Mason, I imagine your Grandfather would be pleased.

Think back to high school. In my time, it was commonplace for girls to wear their boyfriends' class rings. Not on their finger, as if they were members of that class, but around their neck on a chain, as a symbol of their commitment with a member of that class.

For what it's worth, I plan to bequeath my rings to my daughters, and am confident that they will not become Masons themselves.

Dear Gene,

Your rings are your possessions, and since you own them, naturally, you are at liberty to do with them as you wish.

In requesting information as to the fraternity's stance about these types of personal Masonic emblems, Mary was concerned about the propriety of wearing them, herself, even in a different form, such as bracelet charms. She wanted to honor her relatives in a very personal way.

My answer to her describes the fraternity's age-old stance about Masonic emblems worn by non-Freemasons.

Gene, since you feel somewhat differently than the fraternity in general, it might be worthwhile for you to ask your daughters how they, personally, feel about wearing your rings upon a necklace chain in the future.

Yours in the faith,


Feb 17, 2011
Grandfather's Masonic Emblem
by: Mary McGowan

Thanks, Simon, for your reply. I was afraid it would be inappropriate to have my grandfather's Masonic emblem put on my bracelet but I wanted an accurate answer and you provided just that.

I appreciate your taking the time to respond back to me so promptly.

You're welcome, Mary. I know it was not the answer you were hoping for, but if you have a son or grandson, perhaps they may choose to follow in the footsteps of your grandfather and father and become a Freemason. If so, I'm sure they would be honored to wear these Masonic emblems.


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