Not So Secret Societies and Their Symbols

Secret Societies maintain their secrecy through obfuscation but if you know where to look, you can spot members by their jewelry. Three well-known and not-so-secret societies are easy to spot with their custom rings…

Knights Templar

The Knights Templar Order of Chivalry was founded in Jerusalem in 1119. They have a long and interesting past that has divided historians; some believe the Knights Templar was an honorable and just order while other historians see their actions as sanctioned violence. Although many historians state that the order dissolved in the 1400’s some believe the order continued in secrecy and is alive and well today. The most iconic Knights Templar symbol is a red cross on a white field. Rings featuring the equal-armed red cross may indicate a person’s involvement with the order of knights.


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The Freemasons, or simply Masons were founded six-hundred years ago, give or take. As a fraternal order, they are historically closed to women, although some lodges make allowances for transgender women, and other lodges are open to all genders. Freemason kinship started in a shared vocation. The founding stone masons built a fraternity as a moral worker’s guild. Now, people from almost every profession may join the Freemasons if they are approved by the group, profess a belief in a higher power, and complete a series of rituals over time. The freemasons adopted the tools of stone masonry as their symbols: a compass and square. The letter G often associated with Freemasonry may stand for God, Great Architect, Geometry, or all three. Rings often feature the letter G framed by the compass and square.

Skull and Bones

Founded by the Deleno and Russell families at Yale in 1832, Skull and Bones is a college fraternity. Members may be of any gender and are chosen during their junior year based on leadership and connection. The most well-connected or promising students are recognized by their elders and initiated through secret rituals. Nicknames may be passed from outgoing members to new initiates, or new names chosen from the canon of Western literature or philosophic sources. The most popular Bonesman ring symbol is, you guessed it, a skull and crossbones but also rings that feature the number 332.

Of these societies, only the Knights Templar is possibly defunct. Both the Freemasons and Skull and Bones maintain an active calendar despite declining interest in secret societies over the past century.

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4 thoughts on “Not So Secret Societies and Their Symbols

      1. I better check those folks before they wreck themselves…or myself, the next time I hear that, then. 😛 Some people look for rings to determine if someone is married before flirting; I’ll just have to check their G-status.


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