Can you help us solve this mystery?
November 19, 2009
Recently, the National Heritage Museum acquired a set of fraternal jewels, which you can see here (click on the picture for a closer look). The five jewels appear to be part of a set. They are made out of the same metal and have identical pins at the top, with a crescent moon and a five-point star resting on clouds. Each jewel has a different pendant hanging from the top piece: a harp, crossed gavels, scales, an open book and a lantern. They were found in Connecticut, although it is not known if they were originally made or used there.
The jewels do not show any engraving or inscriptions to help us identify the group that initially used them so we are seeking more information. Have you ever seen anything similar? Do you know of a fraternal or Masonic group that uses these symbols?
In the May 2009 issue of the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction’s The Northern Light, we published a picture of these jewels and asked the same questions. Prior to this, we received suggestions that the jewels might be from the Daughters of the Nile or the White Shrine of Jerusalem, but comparisons to symbols and jewels from those groups are not conclusive.
Northern Light readers wasted no time in contacting the Museum with suggestions. One reader noted a comparison between the star and crescent on the jewels and at the Odd Fellows cemetery in Ennis, Texas. While similar, the mystery jewels differ significantly from other Odd Fellows jewels in the National Heritage Museum collection. For another reader, the symbols on the mystery jewels called to mind the moon and star seen on jewelry for members of the Dramatic Order of Knights of Khorassan, a group related to the Knights of Pythias. But comparisons between our mystery jewels and the symbols for this group did not turn up a conclusive match. Still another reader suggested that the jewels might be associated with the Moorish Science Temple of America. We welcomed all of the suggestions and continue to search for the answer to this mystery.
If you have any ideas, please write a comment below and let us know.
Set of Jewels for Unidentified Fraternity, 1880-1930. Museum purchase, collection of National Heritage Museum, 2006.010a-e. Photograph by David Bohl.
Thanks so much for the suggestion! I will definitely look into it and see if I can find any conclusive comparisons. We appreciate your interest in our blog. Aimee Newell
Posted by: Aimee E Newell | May 10, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Another possibility is the Knights of the Ancient Essenic Order. They certainly have a jewel showing a crescent and five pointed star
Posted by: Steven Turner | April 27, 2011 at 08:04 PM
Thanks so much for this information. I will definitely do some more research and see if I can find a group that might have used these Greek symbols for jewels. I am glad that you read our blog and commented. Thanks again!
Posted by: Aimee E Newell | March 02, 2010 at 12:44 PM
those are greek symbols... although where it originated from or why you got it i have no idea...for example the harp:appolo, gravels:thor ,book: athena, scales:libra(considered by the greeks ,to be held by virgo-goddess of justice), and the lantern,diogenes carried in search of n honest man...
and it also, since the moon and stars are given, can be symbols for the night....ergo they also mean the constellations....this is the best of my deduction that meets the clues....hope it was of help...
Posted by: Ashwin Devaraj | March 02, 2010 at 06:08 AM
Thank you for your comment. I will see if I can find more information about whether these could be jewels used by a Shrine Temple. I appreciate every lead and will do some follow-up research. Thanks again for reading the blog and for commenting!
Posted by: Aimee E Newell | January 26, 2010 at 11:07 AM
I came upon your site by accident as I am looking for White Shrine information.I think they could be "Shriner" jewels not White Shrine.
Posted by: Jean Sharples | January 23, 2010 at 10:28 PM
Thank you for your suggestion. I did check the website for The Moorish Science Temple of America and Islam, but couldn't find any images or information on what the group's jewels look like. Also, the jewels in our collection appear to have been made during the mid- to late-1800s, and I thought that might be too early for them to belong to that group. I welcome any additional comments or information that you might offer. Thanks again for your interest.
Posted by: Aimee E Newell | December 18, 2009 at 01:30 PM
Islam & Greetings,
We would like the opportunity to give light to the artifacts of the 5 pendents. Chief Minister Dr. Ra Saadi El is the most renowned scholar, historian of The Moorish Science Temple of America and Islam here in America. Feel free to contact him at (888) 361-2499. Also take a look at the Moorish Science Temple of America website
Posted by: Nadir Mohammed Bey | December 15, 2009 at 05:32 AM