Speculative Freemasonry has been around a long time, at least 350 years. Many fraternal and benevolent societies have been founded since, most of which use similar symbols on their regalia, jewels (medals) and emphemera. Even within Freemasonry, there are a large number of degrees, all using their own symbols. There are also a number of irregular masonic socities, again using similar symbols. Many Masonic items have become highly collectable, and telling them all apart can sometimes be a minefield for the uninitiated. Generally, items from the Victorian period or earlier are rarer and are therfore more desirable to collectors. As with most collectables, condition is very important. My guide is intended to assist you to identify whether something is Masonic or not, and if it is, to which degree it belongs. I hope you find it useful.
Identification by Symbols (Masonic)
The Square and Compass is the universal symbol of Craft Freemasonry. With no symbols or letters within, it usually indicates the item originates from England or Wales or another constitution with ties to the English Constitution. Where the Square and Compass contains the letter 'G', this usually indicates the item originates from Scotland or Ireland or another constitution with ties to either the Scottish or Irish Constitutions.
The symbols above indicate the Royal Arch degree
The keystone indicates the Mark degree
The above symbol indicates the Royal Ark Mariner degree
The above symbols indicate the Royal and Select Masters or Cryptic degrees
The above symbol indicates the Red Cross of Constantine degree
The above symbol indicates the Ancient and Accepted Rite or Rose Croix degree
Identification by Symbols (Non Masonic)
Order of Free Gardeners