Museum of Freemasonry

Bejewelled: Wearable Identity

Freemasons call their badges 'jewels'. In this exhibit we will look at how they are worn.

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Portrait of Henry William Makepeace (1900) by Arthur HolbornMuseum of Freemasonry

Patent hanger

Freemasons once wore all the jewels they owned. The jewel maker George Kenning invented the ‘patent hanger’ to make this easier. Here we can see Henry William Makepeace, a lacemaker from Bristol, wearing his patent hanger around 1900.

Patent hangers, jewels (1887/1956) by W Inglis Mason, Sir Tayabali KarimjeeMuseum of Freemasonry

Patent hanger

A patent hanger is a cloth mount worn on a cross-body sash or hung from a bar. It enables a freemason to wear their entire collection without destroying their jacket.

Bladon patent hanger, miniature jewels (1897/1938) by Henry BladonMuseum of Freemasonry

Miniatures

Before the Second World War the tradition of wearing all your jewels led to miniature versions becoming popular. Henry Bladon, a jewel maker, created the largest miniature group ever worn. There are 72 accurate miniatures on his patent hanger.

Miniatures

Before the Second World War the tradition of wearing all your jewels led to miniature versions becoming popular. Henry Bladon, a jewel maker, created the largest miniature group ever worn. There are 72 accurate miniatures on his patent hanger.

Miniatures

Before the Second World War the tradition of wearing all your jewels led to miniature versions becoming popular. Henry Bladon, a jewel maker, created the largest miniature group ever worn. There are 72 accurate miniatures on his patent hanger.

Miniatures

Before the Second World War the tradition of wearing all your jewels led to miniature versions becoming popular. Henry Bladon, a jewel maker, created the largest miniature group ever worn. There are 72 accurate miniatures on his patent hanger.

Portrait of George Kenning (1894) by Bradshaw & Son, Newgate, LondonMuseum of Freemasonry

Miniatures

We can see George Kenning wearing his own miniatures in this picture. He would have made these himself too.

Miniatures

We can see George Kenning wearing his own miniatures in this picture. He would have made these himself too.

Collar jewels

Jewels to show rank are normally worn on collars so that they are more obvious. Masters of lodges wear a collar that is passed from Master to Master.

Master's collar for Cornwall Legh Lodge (1910/2010)Museum of Freemasonry

Collar jewels

Sometimes the names of the lodge's Masters are engraved on silver plates to help wearers see their place in the succession.

Collar jewels

Freemasons celebrate their lodge history is lots of ways, and jewels help express that history.

Portrait of James Willing (1870) by Elite LundoilMuseum of Freemasonry

Collar jewels

We can see the Master's collar jewel being worn by James Welling (1838–1915), a playwright, who produced a number of plays in the 1870s and 1880s for the Standard Theatre in London.

Collar jewels

He also wears two patent hangers with Past Master lodge jewels.

Royal Prince of Wales Lodge, Almoner collar jewel (1939/1945) by ohn Richard SkipperMuseum of Freemasonry

Making a connection

This collar jewel is from a set made by Bro. John Richard Skipper for Royal Prince of Wales Lodge, No. 1555. While interned at Changi Prison, Singapore during World War II (1939-1945), he and his fellow freemasons formed a lodge.

Making a connection

You can see the jewel is made from scrap metal still bearing the army green paint.

Lodge of King Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem, Founder jewel (1910)Museum of Freemasonry

Making a connection

Lodge of King Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem, No. 3464, used a piece of quarry stone from Jerusalem, inscribed with Hebrew words, in their jewel.

Making a connection

Lodge of King Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem, No. 3464, used a piece of quarry stone from Jerusalem, inscribed with Hebrew words, in their jewel.

Granite Lodge, Founder Deacon jewel (1883)Museum of Freemasonry

Making a connection

This jewel for Granite Lodge, No. 2028, includes a piece of granite said to be from the ancient Egyptian obelisk called 'Cleopatra's Needle', found on London's Embankment.

Making a connection

This jewel for Granite Lodge, No. 2028, includes a piece of granite said to be from the ancient Egyptian obelisk called 'Cleopatra's Needle', found on London's Embankment.

Unique identities

Early lodges would meet at specific taverns, coffee houses or locations so they were named after those. However, a lodge can be named after anything from an aspiration (friendship) to an activity (sailing). The huge variety of lodges over the centuries has resulted in many curious jewels. Take a look at some examples. Can you read their stories from the jewels?

Lodge of Tranquility, member jewel, 1918, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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Mike Hailwood Lodge, member jewel, 2008, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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The Arts Lodge, Consecrating Officer jewel, 1899, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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St David's Lodge, Consecrating Officer jewel, 1903, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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Lodge of Seafarers, Founder jewel, 1995, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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Kingston Aero Lodge, Founder Deacon jewel, 1918, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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The Black Horse of Lombard St Lodge, Founder jewel, 1920, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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Scoutcraft Lodge, Founder jewel, 2017, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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Friendship and Benevolence, collar jewel, 1830, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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Shotokan Karate Lodge, member jewel, 2002, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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Ceramic Lodge, Founder jewel, 1917, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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Kelvin Lodge, Consecrating Officer jewel, 1914, From the collection of: Museum of Freemasonry
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