The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is one of several sects of the Freemasons. A "Rite" is an organization that confers a series of degrees upon it's members. Within the Scottish Rite the highest degree a member can earn is 32, the 33rd degree is an honorary one given for exceptional and/or long service to the organization. There are all kinds of conspiracies and rumors surrounding the mysterious Freemasons including a variety of hypotheses about the number 33. The most believable reason, given the historical importance of the Christian faith within the organization, is that 33 was the age of Jesus, the ultimate teacher, at his death. This wide 1940s Masonic Ring features a grooved hoop and a triangular enamel plaque with the number 33. The inside is engraved "Carrol H. Jomot Deus Meunque Jus". The Latin roughly translates to: "God and my moral righteousness".
RETRO (1935 - 1945)
World War II marked the shift from Art Deco to retro, as yet another war (and the subsequent materials rations) dictated what was available on the jewelry market. Platinum was reserved for military use, so jewelers began relying heavily on gold and experimenting with colored alloys and different finishes. Retro jewelry designs are marked by asymmetry, motifs borrowed from industrial design, and exaggerated scale.
Thanks to a hugely successful advertising campaign begun in the 1940s and funded by De Beers, the phrase “a diamond is forever” was coined and diamond rings were touted as the ONLY acceptable type of engagement ring. Carefully worded ads instructed men on how to choose a stone, and what to spend (“two months salary!”). The Gemological Institute of America developed the so-called “4Cs” of diamond grading, which was a scientific system for measuring the color, clarity, cut and carat weight of every single diamond.
The costume jewelry industry, having only been established a few decades before, began to flourish. Centered in Providence, Rhode Island, and surrounding New England towns, companies like Trifari, Monet, Hobe, and Vendome prospered as consumers gobbled up inexpensive machine-made jewels.