This ornate Masonic Ball Fob can also be known as a Cross Fob or a Masonic Orb. It can appear initially to simply be a Gold sphere, however when unhinged, it opens into a cross-shaped Pendant. The original Freemason owner of this will have worn this to discreetly shown their membership into the brotherhood. They are still in production to this day, however most commonly date to the late 19th century.
Originally typically used as a fob for a pocket watch, in modern day they can also be used on a charm bracelet or worn on a chain as a Pendant. This design typifies the great craftsmanship shown in Masonic jewellery, with the arrangement of small hinges not being visible from the exterior.
When opened the cross shape is formed by six pyramids, each showing four Masonic symbols. There are several interpretations of the meaning behind the creation of these, one being that when the fob is laid out, it shows the structure of a lodge room with the Master’s square at the right, the two pillars and the level of the Senior Warden on the centre left and the cross in the middle. The left segment then represents the first degree, the upper segment represents the second degree and the lower segment represents the third degree.
Masonic Jewellery was typically made from 9ct or 10ct Gold, this particular piece bears 9ct and Silver hallmarks on the underside. The varieties of symbols on the pyramid faces include the tools of stonemasons to represent moral values which are a key element of freemasonry.
Happy treasure hunting!
For further reading, here is an explanation of the cruciform arrangement of St. John’s Lodge Emblems contained in the golden Globe:
1st Row: (to be read from West to East)
"The Conception of God"
Compasses: God's omnipotence is visible everywhere.
Sun and Moon: The heaven's show forth His glory, one day declares it to be another.
Plumb-line: His power descends from above to the whole of the earth
Level: and spreads over the surface of the world.
Two columns: Rising and setting are His work
Delta: and show us there must be a divine existence.
Cross and Cabletow: The true and first perception of Him has come to us through Christ.
Gavel: Through him we learn the proper government of the moral as well as the physical world.
Blazing Star: Thus He appears as the paternal Creator,
Hexagonal Star: as the merciful, beneficent, preserver of the world,
Square: and as the everlasting, all-righteous God.
2nd Row: (to be read from North to South)
"The Way From Darkness to Light"
(The moral evolution in virtue of the conception of God.)
Rough Ashlar: The natural man who, being ignorant, has to learn by the spirit of God,
Tesselated pavement: but is still His child, capable of development by the divine light that dwells within him.
Seven steps: by patient perseverance in well doing, and thus ennobling himself
Trowel: he purifies and refines his heart according to the will of the Great Architect.
Cross and cabletow: The real Teacher of the true way of life is the Master of Nazareth,
Skull & crossbones: who has shown by precept and example, that we can, whilst on earth here, separate the earthly from the heavenly,
Acacia: and who has brought life