The web's only comprehensive guide to masonic rings...
Since the around the time of the civil war freemasons have been wearing masonic rings. The tradition began as a means to identify a fallen brother so that he may receive the proper funeral rites. Today it symbolizes the deep pride associated with becoming a member of the world's oldest and largest fraternity.
Types of Masonic Rings
Signet - Signet rings have a negative design to allow for use with wax seals. Because of this, the image may sometimes be reversed so that when it is stamped into the wax it appears proper. Because signet rings today are so rarely used to actually seal things with, they rarely reverse the image anymore. Signet rings are ideally crafted of a solid piece of precious metal. These are the best for handing down through the generations.
Stone - Stone rings often have an onyx, agate or some other type of natural stone on the face. In the context of masonic rings, they will usually have a square and compass or some other masonic symbol attached to it. Because these rings are made of multiple parts, they are the most delicate and most prone to breakage. The symbol on top never remains tight and has a tendency to catch on things, making the problem worse. This is simply the nature of stone rings and there is nothing to be done about it. Stone rings are not ideal to hand down because when they break, pieces of them are often lost.
Jeweled - Jeweled rings usually have a diamond or some other precious gem set as a center piece or accent. Similar to stone rings, jeweled rings are very delicate and if subjected to trama can easily lose the precious gem.
Enamel - Enamel rings use a paint like coating to simulate a stone look but without sacrificing the durability of a single piece design. Enamel will chip and break over time but any jeweler can easily fix it. Enamel rings usually have the symbol attached directly to the ring with enamel surrounding it. Because of this, even if all the enamel is lost, the ring still retains it's most important parts. Many enamel rings look just fine without the enamel and some choose to leave them that way.
Class - Class rings usually have a synthetic (or real) gemstone placed in the center. Since they are usually much larger than a typical diamond ring or precious gem ring, it is much easier for the shank to get a solid grip around the stone. While they are still made of two parts, they often have much greater durability than jeweled or stone rings.
Band - Bands are the simplest of the bunch, some have one symbol, some have multiple symbols
Swivel - Swivel rings originated in England where it was common to wear only a single family ring that bore the family crest or initials. Swivel rings allow the face to flip around to reveal a second symbol, most often a square and compass. Because swivel rings have moving parts, they can break and should be handled with care.
Cigar - Cigar band rings are similar to bands in their low profile but do not retain a uniform height going all the way around. They get tall at the face and can have a signet or other engraving. They are called cigar band rings because they most closely resemble the band on a cigar.
Where to buy - We have found that The Ashlar Company is absolutely hands down the best place to get a masonic ring. Their quality, service and turn around is simply unbeatable. They are the only true factory direct source representing more than half of the worlds masonic jewelers.
Common questions about freemasons...
How do I become a mason? - In the United States and some other areas, you simply need to ask. If you are found worthy, you will be admitted. In other parts of the world the craft is invitation only and there is no way to join without already knowing someone within.
Can a woman become a freemason? - No, there are no women freemasons. There are several pseudo organizations styled after the freemasons and some do admit women but none of them are not taken seriously by mainstream masonry.
Why does the G sometimes appear in the square and compass? - The G is frequently seen at the center of the square and compass in North American lodges. In Europe and most other parts of the world, the G is not used.
Why is freemasonry sometimes associated with paganism or the devil? - A long time ago a con artist named Leo Taxil wrote a fictional & slanderous book that did tremendous damage to the reputation of the brotherhood. You can read about this myth and several others at masonicmyths.com
Do I have to be a freemason to wear a masonic ring? - You sure do. If you are not a mason and you try to wear a ring, you find yourself in some extremely embarrassing situations.