A Fabulous Masonic Find: Golden Globe and Cross FobMay 9, 2019
Recently, Theresa Norman, our Museum Curator, came across an unusual find as she was cataloguing items that have been donated or gifted to the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center over the years. It was a fob—an ornament attached to a watch chain. She takes up the story below.
The Fob Find
One of the most interesting objects I’ve cataloged to date is an ornate watch fob known as the Golden Globe and Cross Fob. The collections owned by the Heritage Center include numerous pieces of jewelry but the uniqueness of this piece stood out. Not only does the ball open, its craftsmanship is simply remarkable.
Dating to the turn of the 20th century, the fob is made from gold and silver but has no maker’s marks. It serves the dual purpose of being an orb in its closed position and a cross in its open position.
In addition, it is very small, measuring just 2 inches high x 1.25 inches long when open, and a mere three-quarters of an inch when closed. Despite its diminutive size, the fob is considered to be “the pinnacle (of) geometric design” due to the hidden treasures it contains.
The Fob’s Inner Workings
In addition to forming a cross in its open position, the fob consists of hinges unseen from the outside of the globe that, when opened, reveal two lines of pyramids with rounded bases. All four sides of each pyramid are engraved with Masonic and religious symbols including a square, compass, sprig of acacia, and an All Seeing Eye.
The symbols themselves are read in rows. The first row is laid out from West to East and describes “The Conception of God.” The second row is laid out from North to South and describes “The Way from Darkness to Light.” This piece, like most Masonic jewelry, personifies the fraternity’s history, teachings, and fellowship.
Next time you’re at the Heritage Center, check out the Museum to see what’s new! We never know what gems are waiting to be discovered.