Masonic Symbols and Their Meanings

Masonic jewelry has a following beyond those involved in Freemasonry.  The iconic symbol of square and compass evokes the same mystery and mystique that surrounds the fraternity it represents.  We illuminate some of the more common symbols you’re likely to see in jewelry below, using Allen E. Roberts’ The Craft and Its Symbols as a guide.


Interlaced Square and Compass

Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of Freemasonry, the interlaced square and compass unites two important elements of Masonic symbolism.  The square represents morality and righteousness.  The phrase “on the square” has long been used to describe a fair, honest deal.  The compass represents spirituality, existence and the circle of life.  As Roberts eloquently describes, “As the square cannot be corrected without a circle circumscribed by the compasses, man cannot find Divine truth outside the circle of law and love.”


The Letter “G”

Often, you will see the compass and square symbol depicted with the letter “G”.  This letter has two layers of symbolism, standing for both God and Geometry.  Freemasons refer to God as “The Great Architect of the Universe”, and consider Geometry the “thought form” of God in nature.


The Acronym “HTWSSTKS”

Very often you will see the acronym “HTWSSTKS” in Masonic jewelry, which stands for “Hiram Tyrian Widow’s Son Sent to King Solomon.”  This refers to the Legend of Hiram Abif, an important allegory in Masonic teachings.  The story tells of Hiram Abif, who was charged with the task of building King Solomon’s temple, and met his end refusing to tell the secrets of the Master Mason.  The story symbolizes loyalty and is associated with the highest degree of the Masonic fraternity.


Other Common Masonic Symbols

Here some other common symbols you might see depicted in Masonic jewelry, along with their meanings:

Pheonix – rebirth, death and resurrection

Cross, Anchor, and Heart – faith, hope, and charity/love, respectively; referred to as the 3 principal rounds of Jacob’s Ladder

The Letters F, P, T, and J – fortitude, prudence, temperance, and justice; four qualities revered by Freemasons

Double Headed Eagle – power and empire

Keystone – completion of the “spiritual temple” or a Freemason’s personal journey

The Sun / Rays of Light – God and the Divine

Trowel – the spreading of brotherly love and affection


There are many more symbols in the world of Freemasonry.  Click the photos to learn more about the pieces you see here, and click here to view more vintage fraternal jewelry from Market Square Jewelers.

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