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Masonic Jewel
Thomas Harper (ca. 1735-1832)
England: London
Silver, glass
3-1/2"h x 2-1/2"w x 3/16"d
Loaned by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts

Masonic medal; silver oval showing engraved pierced design of square, compasses, level, plumb, and maul, with three glass (paste) jewels set in compasses, plumb, and level; remnants of missing tool (trowel) in top right. Border decorated with a sawtooth pattern. Hanging loop at top.

This jewel was manufactured by London silversmith Thomas Harper (ca. 1744-1832). Harper, a prolific and skilled smith, produced a variety of Masonic jewels in the late 1790s and first decades of the 1800s, including officers’ jewels, mark jewels and presentation jewels. Hallmarks date this jewel to 1811. The design—an oval in which much of the silver has been cut away (a technique called piercing) to form the shapes of several Masonic symbols—is one Harper produced many times. An engraver outlined, detailed and embellished each of the emblems—a square, compasses, a level, plumb rule and a maul—on the jewel. Cut glass stones set in silver ornament the hinge of the compasses, as well as form the bobs on plumb rule and level. Pierced jewels, with only thin pieces of metal connecting different elements are fragile. This one is missing a trowel that used to span the space between the right hand leg of the compasses and the rim.