The Freemasons are the oldest (and most famous) fraternal organization in the world. The origin of their name comes from Biblical times, when stonemason members of the organization (in those days probably an early trade guild) reputedly built castles and temples throughout Europe and, significantly, King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. This unusual 15k gold English 1930s signet ring features a sardonyx intaglio of a Masonic temple complete with the eye of providence(!!). The reverse of the head is engraved with the most widely recognized Masonic symbol, a compass and square.
ART DECO (1915 – 1940)
Art Deco is highly recognizable for its minimalism and futurism. Simultaneous art movements—Cubism, Bauhaus—informed the geometric style, along with “exotic” foreign influences like the Ballet Russe. Motifs like ziggurats and sunbursts, stripped of visual clutter, conveyed the optimism of an increasingly technological world.
In jewelry, the predominant use of white metals let colorful gems take center stage. Stones that were opaque and true in color, like lapis lazuli, onyx, jade, coral, and opal were worked into designs alongside more precious and brilliant gems, like diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Extra-long beaded necklaces and tasseled “sautoirs” followed the narrow flapper silhouette.
The baguette cut was an Art Deco innovation, and the decade saw increased use of other angular diamond cuts, like the precise caliber cut and the emerald cut. Synthetic gems, like sapphires, were celebrated as a scientific marvel. Marcel Tolkowsky, 21 years old at the time, published the design for the round brilliant cut in 1919.