Freemasonry is a fraternal society that historically ranked the qualifications of masons dating back to the Medieval ages. Each body of members is referred to as a "lodge" that conducts regular meetings and business. Freemasonry describes itself as "a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Traditional manual tools such as squares, compasses, trowels, and levels are common symbols that represent stonemasons are common motifs in their historic relics. Although Freemasonry is often associated with early groups such as the Knights Templar, the organization is still very much intact in the modern day. However, antique and ancient Masonic heirlooms are rare finds and have now become very collectible!
This fob from the late Victorian era (ca1900) is a wonderful example of symbolic Freemasonry jewelry! Crafted in sterling silver, the fob is specifically associated with a particular appendant body in freemasonry known as "The Grotto" or "M.O.V.P.E.R." (an acronym for "Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm." It initially began as an informal group for socialization among members of the Hamilton Lodge, founded in 1889. The group was first called the "FDC" (Fairchild Deviltry Committee), but changed its name the following year. The official emblem is a black fez with a red tassel and a Mokanna head at the center. This artistic fob incorporates the emblem in enameled repousse detail, which is Viking-like in appearance and quite striking! The acronym "M.O.V.P.E.R." appears at the bottom, and at the base is a smooth seal. Members of The Grotto often used fobs such as these as key tags or key fobs, which were generally engraved with an address for the purpose of returning lost or missing keys to their rightful owner. A silver ring is attached to the top of the piece, making it simple to hang from a favorite chain if desired. A very unique piece with fascinating symbolism, this unusual antique pendant would make a special addition to any freemason collection!
Measurements: The fob hangs 1 3/8" long (including the ring at the top) and measures 1 1/4" wide and 1/2" thick at the base.
Condition: The overall condition of the fob is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the silver setting or to the enameled details, which are free of any significant chips or scratches. The ring for hanging the piece is securely attached. There is a natural patina on the the surface of the piece that gives a darkened antique appearance to the silver. This is normal for antique jewelry and adds to its unique character.