Presentation of a Past Master Jewel
Brother, it becomes my pleasure to present you with the jewel which symbolizes the completion of your year as Master of this Lodge. This is a pretty jewel, and a somewhat expensive one, but it is not to be put carefully away, to be brought out only for exhibition on stated occasions. It is far more than an ornament. It has a symbolism which may be known to you. For one thing, it symbolizes that you have stepped down from a high position to a more important one. Your duties may not be so numerous, but they well may be more weighty, and it well may be that more time will be required if you are to fill this new and more exalted position as well as you have filled the lesser one you are leaving.
You will note the Jewel pictures the 47th problem or proposition of Euclid, greatest ancient geometricians and prominent in the ritual and legendary history of Freemasonry. This problem is enunciated by Euclid in these words; "in any right-angle triangle, the square which is described upon the side subtending the right angle, is equal to the sum of the squares described upon the sides which contain the right angle." That is a little abstruse for most of us, but may be sixth grade arithmetic to a Past Master. There are 48 propositions in the first Book of Euclid, and all from the first up to the 47th are required in proving the 48th. You may need to brush up on your Euclid.
When a Past Master is presented with his jewel, the presumption is that he has mastered all the secrets of Freemasonry symbolized by his jewel and is qualified to instruct others, particularly in the noble science of Geometry. I know of none who has gone before you who could qualify, but I know of none who has received this jewel before you who has been called upon to demonstrate such proficiency. Past Masters, however, should be able and willing to instruct in the less abstruse phases of Freemasonry, and that we shall expect of you. A Past Master who is not qualified and willing to teach; who does not hold himself ready to, upon request, pass valuable instruction to his successor, does not fulfil the symbolism of this jewel. The jewel of a Past Master is symbolic of what he should be and what his Brethren expect of one who has passed the chair. I am sure, and your Lodge is sure, that you are more than worthy of this regard of service and will in all ways live up to the symbolism which has been explained to you.
May I offer my congratulations.
This paper was prepared by V.W. Bro. Norman Amirault of Annapolis Royal Lodge No. 33, and was donated to the Board of Masonic Education by Bro. Amirault.