Need some help/advice regarding my Grandfathers ring.

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Jeremy Colvin, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. Jeremy Colvin

    Jeremy Colvin Registered User

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    Greetings all. I have just begun my search for answers and I would greatly appreciate any advice or information that you can provide.

    A few years ago, I inherited what I believe to be a very special Free Mason ring of my grandfathers. I believe he was a 32 degree mason, I don't know the details, but I do know that he was very well respected and from what I understand pretty high on the Free Mason scale. I apologize if I'm wording that incorrectly, I am clearly not a Free Mason, and I do not know much anything about them other than what I've seen in movies, etc. What I DO know though is that receiving this ring is a great honor and that it's important to me to honor him by giving it the respect it deserves.

    The ring has had a rough time in it's journey to me unfortunately. At some point after his passing (years ago) it found it's way to the hands of some not so great people who stole the center stone out of it. I assume this was a diamond stone, and after speaking with a jeweler appears that the right size stone would be about .90 carat. I had taken it to the jeweler because I wanted to look into having it restored to what it should be. Honestly, it breaks my heart that someone would have so little respect in life to have removed the stone from such a clearly symbolic artifact.

    Unfortunately this isn't a cheap "repair" - I had no idea how expensive it would be, but had to take a step back when I learned it would be about $4,000 for a new stone to restore the ring. I don't have that kind of cheddar laying around, so I thanked the jeweler and told him that I would need to give it some thought.

    Initially, when I was thinking about having it restored, I was thinking about restoring it with the intention of wearing it to honor him. But as I have recently read through various google searches, it appears that that is actually discouraged if you are not a Free Mason yourself. The last thing I would ever want to do would be to accidentally dishonor him, or other Free Mason's by wearing the ring as I know how much honor was important to him, as well as myself.

    Which leads me now to an even bigger tough decision regarding the cost of restoring the ring. At 43 years old, with a wife and 3 young children of my own, spending $4k on something that would just sit in a display is even harder to justify than spending $4k on something that I would be able to wear and that would bring me great honor to remember him with. Especially with not knowing much about it's full meaning, etc.

    So that is what I'm here for... 1. To get some advice about what direction to go and 2. Hopefully to get some more understanding of what the symbols on the ring mean.

    I have taken some pictures of the ring and am hoping that someone could help me understand what the symbols on it mean. I would LOVE to have a deeper understanding of why this ring was so important to my Grandfather and what it meant to him. I think I have read somewhere that the wearer of the ring chooses the symbols based on their lodge or what it represents to him? Any help or info that you can give me about the ring and it's symbols would be greatly appreciated. Either here, or I can give you my # for a phone call.

    Also, is the correct center stone a diamond? Also, I notice 4 other holes on each side of the ring in the area that looks like maybe a double eagle? Are these supposed to have stones in them, or are they supposed to just be holes?

    As to which direction to go... like I said, it would cost me $4k to fix the ring, which *feels* like the "right" thing to do... but considering my other life obligations, also feels like the wrong thing to do, especially if I am not supposed to wear it. What are your thoughts on this?

    Thank you, in advance, to anyone who has taken the time to read this and to respond. I greatly appreciate your time and any words that you can offer.

    - Jeremy

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  2. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    That's a very nice ring with an interesting history. If you want to wear it and honor your grandfather, have you considered earning the right to proudly wear it as a 32nd degree Mason yourself?
     
  3. Jeremy Colvin

    Jeremy Colvin Registered User

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    I have been google searching/reading most of the day looking into doing exactly that actually. Unfortunately, I don't know any Free Mason's here in Ohio and my Grand Father was from Oklahoma, so I'm not clear yet on steps to take to join (though I'm still reading). It seems to me that in order to join, I need to be recommended by at least 2 other mason's of a lodge, but not knowing any of course will make that difficult. :( Any suggestions?
     
  4. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    Start here.
    https://www.freemason.com/how-to-join/#:~:text=If you already live in,to read and write English
    There is a link to get in touch with local Masons.

    Feel free to read around this forum and ask questions. Many Brothers here will be happy to answer any we can.
     
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  5. Jeremy Colvin

    Jeremy Colvin Registered User

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    Winter: Thank you for the link.
     
  6. Jeremy Colvin

    Jeremy Colvin Registered User

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    Now I am really confused. I've been looking at symbols all day, the 32 is pretty obvious to me, 32 degree.

    The double headed eagle is a bit puzzling, because I understand that it is a symbol of 32 degree scottish rite, but a bit puzzling because it has two distinct tails, pretty much all of the ones I have found have a single tail with a double headed eagle.

    The symbol opposite of the 32 on the top that kind of looks like a 7, appears to be a symbol of "lodge of perfection" - but is confusing, because it says it is for 14th degree... why would he have both a 32 degree and a 14 degree symbol on the ring? Evidently, the symbol is Hebrew letter yod. I found this interesting article regarding it: https://www.scottishriteboston.net/en/page.php?id=153

    The cross is a bit confusing, because I can't tell what the other symbols behind it (that cross the cross) are.

    And of course, the Classig G with the compass, I understand to be a Freemason symbol.

    Now for what I don't understand... after doing a lot of reading, it appears that the 32 degree is (relatively) "easy" (no offense intended) to get these days... and can be obtained fairly "quickly" - but this contradicts everything that I remember hearing about growing up as a kid about my Grandfather. I was under the impression that he was one of the highest levels, as in above a standard 32 degree. I remember hearing that he was the grand something of the whole area and that he was heavily involved in the all of it.

    Also, what I don't understand is if being a 32 degree is so common (again, no offense meant) then why would he have all the stones in the ring that he did? My Grandfather wasn't a man of particular wealth, he owned a motorcycle repair business in Oklahoma servicing the Tri-State which was on his 6 acres of property. Which is what makes me think it was something above a normal 32 - if there is such a thing. His hands were covered in grease most of the time from work, which is why the ring having stones surprises me. Also, most (99%) of the other rings that I've seen in my search are all beautiful, but don't have any stones. His had .9 to 1 carat stone in the middle, which I am pretty sure was a diamond.

    Though... at the same time, I am feeling a bit dumb at the moment, because of something that I read a few minutes ago... where a supposed 32 degree mason found it "funny when someone asks him about a father or grand father who was a 32 degree mason, inferring that being a 32 degree mason is a big deal, - he continued, "it's relatively easy to get and just about anyone can reach that level quickly, within a few days to a few months, or if they are lazy, a few years."

    My Grandfather was anything but lazy. He was highly involved in his community. Was one of the most honorable men I know, and from what I understood, it took him years to get where he was. I believe he was a Mason for something like 40+ years.

    I'm left feeling a bit confused and can't help but to feel a bit deflated. Of course, it doesn't matter, I know what an amazing man my Grandfather was... but still it's been hard to read some of the comments I've seen in my google searches. :(
     
  7. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    First, there is no higher degree than a 3rd Degree Master Mason. It is a misnomer that the 32nd is a "higher" degree. Second, easy or hard to attain is subjective. Some jurisdictions rush a person through the degrees while others take longer with more requirements. Each area unique. What is important is what you put in. That will determine what you get out of the experience. Lastly, if you intend to pursue the degrees, stop reading. you will only end up spoiling the initiatic experience by reading treatise that deal with topics that would make little sense to a person outside. If you want to read something that won't spoil the experience, I recommend Freemasons for Dummies by Chris Hodap. It was written by an esteemed Brother with an eye to explaining the ins and outs to Brothers and non alike.

    As for the quality of the stones that were removed, the deep and personal symbolic meaning the ring has to a Brother will many times cause them to lay out very large sums for one to show their love of the Craft. A quick search will show you rings in excess of $10K. I don't have one of those!
     
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  8. Thomas Stright

    Thomas Stright Premium Member

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    If your not going to earn the right to wear it, just replace it with a cubic zirconia stone and make a nice display honoring your grandfather.
     
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  9. Jeremy Colvin

    Jeremy Colvin Registered User

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    Thank you for all of your input. Personally, I put respect and honor on the highest of my pedestals, so after much thought and consideration through the weekend, I've decided to look into joining in order to "earn the right" to wear it. I know that my Grandfather would have preferred it that way. Thank you to those who took the time to respond for helping me with my initial questions.
     
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  10. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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