The Masonic ring is one of the most highly valued pieces of regalia of Freemasonry. It’s rumored that some Masons value the Masonic ring above their wedding ring, which understandably doesn’t go down well with their wives!
Whatever individual significance is placed on the Masonic ring, it’s an essential part of Masonic symbolism. We’re going to look at the importance of the Masonic ring within Freemasonry and understand its symbolic weight.
Do all Masons receive a ring?
It’s widely thought that upon becoming a Freemason, you are automatically given a ring. This isn’t actually the case. In fact, Masonic lodges are known to provide their own rings to members on two specific occasions: after the 14th and 33rd degrees of the Scottish rite.
Masons who achieve these degrees are few, and it’s incredibly prestigious. Those that adorn these official rings of Freemasonry do so with pride, as it’s an indication of their dedication and knowledge of the importance of Freemasonry in their society.
What does the Masonic ring represent?
As with all Freemasonry regalia, the ring has a significant symbolic meaning. The ring represents eternity and the cyclical nature of life. As is the case with rings more generally, it symbolizes eternal attachment and obligation. Masons wear their rings as proof of their allegiance to Freemasonry and showcase it as a vital part of their lives.
As wedding rings remind people of their duty of care toward their partners, the Masonic ring fulfills a similar purpose. When a Mason wears his ring, it is a reminder of his duty of care and commitment to his fraternal brothers.
It is also a reminder to live his life aligned to the values and principles promoted within Freemasonry. For those within Freemasonry, being a Mason is not just a title; it’s a way of life, and the ring is a pertinent daily reminder of this.
How do Masons wear their rings?
There’s nothing out of the ordinary about the way in which Freemasons wear their rings. Most Masonic rings have a uniform shape, and except for any imagery or inscription, they are usually indistinguishable from other rings.
That being said, most Masonic rings have various shapes or words engraved on them, which reminds the wearer of their commitment to the Masonic fraternity. It’s common for rings to be adorned with the all-seeing eye or the square and compasses.
Masonic rings come in many forms and designs, and it’s up to the wearer what design they go for. Different designs aren’t used to represent hierarchy within the fraternity, so it’s up to each Mason which design they go for.
Some Masons enjoy wearing their rings in public as it is a way that their fellow brothers can recognize their allegiance to Freemasonry. While a Masonic ring may not be noticeable to the general public, a fellow Mason would likely recognize it straight away.
The weight of the Masonic ring
Now that we’ve taken a look at the existence of the Masonic ring, we’re going to move on and try and understand the metaphorical weight of the ring, especially what it means to Masons the world over.
The Masonic ring can be considered in relation to what economists call opportunity cost. This involves looking at something you purchase and not merely considering it related to the money you spend on it, but more importantly, on what opportunities you give up to attain it.
For Masons, the ring represents the price they pay to attain life-giving goodness and membership in the fraternity. A quick Google search will reveal that you can buy a ring for a couple of hundred dollars or a couple of thousand dollars. The ring’s importance is not in the cost, but what opportunities you gave up to attain it.
Masons consider how much they have paid in dues to their lodges, as well as the evenings spent away from their families when attending ceremonies and functions. They also consider all the time and effort they have put into related Masonic events such as fundraising, which are all encompassed in the ring’s opportunity cost.
Moreover, many Masons consider the ring to represent the values that they live every day. Therefore, the opportunity cost can be extended to represent all of the times in life they remember the core Masonic values when traversing everyday life.
When you factor in the opportunity cost of the ring, as well as the daily symbolic reminder to the wearer of their place within Freemasonry, you realize just how heavy the ring is for the Mason that wears it. Symbolically, it is much heavier than the eight or ten grams signified by the jeweler’s scales.
Furthermore, the ring represents all of the many millions of brothers the world over and symbolizes to the wearer that Freemasonry is about much more than the self; it is about commitment to fellow man and the faith in a supreme being.
Conclusion: what is the actual weight of the Masonic ring?
With all things considered, the weight of the Masonic ring must be understood as symbolic. To the wearer, the ring is much more than a nice piece of jewelry. It represents their life-long commitment to Freemasonry and a daily reminder of the importance of living the values expected of a Mason.
Moreover, if you look at the ring’s opportunity cost, you can begin to understand its symbolic weight. The ring is a constant reminder of what they have given up to become a Freemason and serves as a reminder to be proud of their commitment to their brothers.
Practically, Masons wear their rings in public to proudly display their membership of Freemasonry, and it is a distinguishable feature that their brothers sometimes notice at social events.
Symbolically, the ring is heavy to the wearer and is a constant reminder of their pledge of allegiance to Freemasonry.