The Proper Way to Wear a Masonic Ring


     The following from Temple Topics (Illinois) is now being
quoted with approval by other Masonic papers.

     "What is the proper way to wear a Masonic ring?  Should the
points of the compass be toward or away from the body?

     "If you were hanging the American flag, would you put the
stars down?  The same holds true of the ring.  Usually it is a
gift, and has sentimental value for the wearer.  It should look
right side up to him.  Rings are therefore worn with the points
of the compass toward the wearer."

     This subject is one on which Grand Lodges have made no
regulation and popular opinion is divided.  We must therefore
reason from analogy.  When the emblem of the square and compasses
is displayed on a building, pennant, button, watch charm etc.,
universal custom requires the points of the compass point
downward.  When displayed on the Altar they point away from the
Master.  As the Master from his station views the compass from
the Altar of his lodge, the points are from, not towards him.  As
the wearer of a compass watch charm views it, the points are down
and away from his eyes.  In a similar way as he views the emblem
on his ring the points should be down or away from his eyes.

     The square is the symbol of earthly, the compass of heavenly
perfection.  As a combined emblem the ends of the square point up
as a symbol of man's aspirations toward God; the points of the
compass are down to represent heavenly qualities coming down from
God to earth.  Therefore it would seem that the proper way to
wear a ring would be that is which its symbolism is best
expressed; namely, that in which, when the hand is held in its
usual position the points of the compass are towards the earth
and away from the wearer's eyes.
     Thus it will be seen that our conclusion does not agree with
the writer in Temple Topics.  He truly says that in hanging an
American flag we would not put the stars down, but in hanging a
compass or a square and compass, he surly would put the points of
the compass down.  The same rule holds when worn as a ring or
button or a watch charm; namely, they would be worn the same way
with the points down.  When so worn they all serve the same
purposes, and by no means the least of these purposes is to
announce to the world the proud wearer is a Mason.  --  Iowa
Masonic Bulletin.

     (Editor's Note:  We agree with the writer in Temple Topics. 
We believe that the apex of the compasses should point toward the
finger nail; so that in looking at the ring by the wearer he sees
the points of the compasses towards him.  we do not believe that
a ring is worn for "show" purposes.) See uploader's comment 

(Copied from THE MONTANA MASON, May 1936, page 15)

(Uploader's Comment:  Rings are like pins, necklaces, most 
watches, and any other form of jewelry -- they are ADORNMENT!  
Nothing in Masonic law or regulation does it make any mention 
of the necessity for these 'other' jewels.  Therefore, like 
most jewelry, they are worn as a matter of personal pride.  
They demonstrate 'our' status to others who observe them.  So 
it is the opinion of this humble writer that the ring should be 
worn as first stated; With the points of the compass toward the 
nail.  Then an observer of your ring can see just what you 
intended for him/her to see -- that you are a Mason.  The 
symbol you know, understand, and love should not be displayed 
in a manner that could be confusing (or worse, misconstrued) to 
the casual observer.  After all, you wouldn't wear your Masonic 
collar pin with the points of the compass toward your neck now 
would you?
Push come to shove, when the crotchety old Past Master tells 
you that you are wearing your ring incorrectly (two Past 
Masters will give you two widely different views!) you can tell 
him (with some modicum of tact) that he should concentrate more 
on the continuation of his Masonic Work, and helping those who 
are just moving up in the Craft, and not on a subject with NO 
definitive answer.  

James S. Rounsaville