From secret handshakes to ancient symbols and nebulous origin theories—unpacking the meaning and symbolism in Freemasonry can be complicated. The Freemasons are known for their ornate lodges as well as their regalia, such as their officer aprons, candidates’ clothing, Tiler’s sword, and Masonic rings.

Freemasonry is the oldest fraternal organization, and there are about 6 million freemasons worldwide. Despite the number of secret oaths and handshakes that the Freemasons may not divulge, they can show their membership to the world in other ways. From bumper stickers to badges, hats, cufflinks, messenger bags, and Masonic rings—these Masonic items typically have an icon or symbol.

The most famous Freemason symbol is the Square and Compass symbol. But what is the meaning of wearing a Freemason ring? How many Masons ring symbols are there? Can anyone wear a Masonic ring? When can you wear a Freemason ring?

Masonic Lodge

The History of Masonic Rings

What is a Masonic ring anyway, and how far does it date back? Authentic masonic rings are types of signet rings that show membership to the Masonic brotherhood. In the most basic sense, the meaning of a Freemason ring is to symbolize the member’s ongoing loyalty to the world’s oldest fraternal organization.

Masons in the middle ages

The history of masonic rings dates back to the Middle Ages when it was popular to stamp documents in wax to verify their authenticity. In Medieval times, only royalty, noblemen, and officials would wear Masonic rings, which were made of precious metals, enamels, gems, and elaborate craftsmanship.

In later years, other Masonic members started wearing the rings, such as merchants and tradesmen. Their rings had a more simple design—they featured Masonic logos simply cut into the face of the ring. In modern times, young Freemasons today often wear a signet ring with daily wear or more formal attire.

Masons in the middle ages

In later years, other Masonic members started wearing the rings, such as merchants and tradesmen. Their rings had a more simple design—they featured Masonic logos simply cut into the face of the ring. In modern times, young Freemasons today often wear a signet ring with daily wear or more formal attire.

There are many different types of Masonic rings, including Blue Lodge (Master Mason) Rings, Past Master Rings, Scottish Rite Rings, York Rite Rings, Shrine Rings, and Eastern Star Rings.

Famous Historical Figures Who Wore a Signet Ring

There are many famous figures who have worn signet rings—such as Caesar, whose ring had an armed Venus; Nero, whose signet ring featured an image of the flaying of Marsyas by Apollo; Cicero, who wore his signet ring for fashion on his pinky finger; and Michelangelo, who had a signet ring with an image of the Sistine Chapel on it.

Although some historians have linked Masonry to Ancient Rome and the Knights Templar, there is not enough evidence to know whether or not historical figures from these times were linked to the roots of Freemasonry.

Meaning of the Masons Ring

The masonic ring symbolizes several different meanings. One meaning is in its circular shape, which represents the “eternity of the circle,” or the bond of a mason to the Freemason brotherhood forever. This is an ancient meaning of rings that dates back to early Homo sapiens and continues in the meaning of wedding rings to show an eternal bond between partners.

The Masonic ring also carries the meaning as a representation of the member’s loyalty and dedication to the fraternity, as well as his authenticity, or “cable tow.” The meanings of a Freemason’s ring can vary from member to member, and also depend on the different Masonic symbols.

The Different Meanings of Masonic Ring Symbols

These are some of the different Freemason symbols that you may see on Masonic rings, as well as the meaning behind these symbols.

Square and Compass Ring

This symbol consists of three elements: the square, the compasses, and the letter “G.” The square and compasses signify the tools of the architect and builder, which reflect the history of Masonry and are also used in metaphor to teach lessons in the Masonic lodge.

The builder’s square is a flat-edged metal tool in stonemasonry that has a 90-degree angle. The purpose of a builder’s square is to help craftsmen to draw and carve perfect square corners. In terms of meaning, the Square and Compass symbol represents the structural soundness that perfectly square corners provide a building. In Freemasonry, being “square” in your actions implies honesty and fairness.

The compass is a tool used for drawing perfect circles and arcs, which are crucial elements of architectural planning. In Freemasonry, the compasses symbolize self-restraint—you must have the self-control to live a balanced life.

The letter “G” can mean different things to different Masons. In America, the letter G is often found in the center of the square and compass tools. For some, it refers to Geometry, a central concept for the Masonic moral lessons featuring builders and architects. The other meaning of the “G” in the Square and Compass refers to God, or the “Great Architect of the Universe.”

The Set Square and Compass

The Knights Templar Ring

Another type of Masonic ring features the Knights Templar symbol, which consists of a symmetrical cross in the center. This ring signifies freemasonry’s lineage claim to the Knights Templar, who defended Christian crusaders during their pilgrimages to the Holy Land

The Scottish Rite Ring

This type of Masonic ring contains a plain band of gold with an equilateral triangle. The triangle encloses the Hebrew letter Yud, which is the tenth letter of the alphabet, and the initial of a deity. The inside of the Scottish Rite ring typically bears the text, “Whom virtue unites, death will not separate.” Scottish Rite Masons can wear the 14th-degree ring after receiving the degree of Grand Elect Mason.

Scottish Rite

The Shriner Ring

The Masonic Shriner’s ring displays a sword and a crescent. The ring represents the Shriners fraternity philanthropy. The sphinx stands for the Shriners’ governing body. The five-pointed star represents the thousands of children who receive their philanthropic aid each year. The Shriner ring emblem also displays the phrase “Robur et Furor,” which means “Strength and Fury.”

Shriner's Masonic ring

Masonic Rings Today

The ancient tradition of wearing Masons rings remains intact to this day. Due to the invention of the printing press and modern technology, it’s no longer necessary to place a seal into wax to seal important documents, therefore, most modern rings are different than those from the Middle Ages.

If you enjoy historical rings, you may be interested in these rings that exemplify the genuine, original Masonic ring design, and the seal of the Knights Templar Order. Some of our Masonic Rings are created as reproductions of the originalss, and they’re made from high-quality; making them the perfect ring to present your membership. Or, check out our other interesting Signet Rings.