Thomas Harper's Masonic Companion's

Jewel of the Royal Arch Degree

The Front

The Back

It is engraved with his name Tho Harper - London Fleet Street

This is a most wonderful sterling silver with 22 kt gilding reversible Companions Jewel dated London 1817 with the makers hallmark - Thomas Harper.  Thomas Harper was a gold and silversmith as well as an active Freemason.   It depicts the interlocking triangles of the Seal of Solomon with Wisdom - Strength - Beauty - Peace - Concord - Truth engraved around the edges.  The symbolism shared with Freemasonry is the Seal of Solomon or the Shield of David, for under both names the same thing was denoted.  A hexagonal figure consisting of two interlaced triangles, thus forming the outlines of a six-pointed star.  Upon it was inscribed one of the sacred names of God, from which inscription it was supposed principally to derive its talismanic powers.  These powers were very extensive, for it was believed that it would extinguish fire, prevent wounds in a conflict, and perform many other wonders.  The Jews called it the Shield of David in reference to the protection it gave to its possessors.  But to the other Orientalists it was more familiarly known as the Seal of Solomon.   Among these imaginative people, there was a very prevalent belief in the magical character of the King of Israel.  He was esteemed rather as a great magician than as a great monarch, and by the signet which he wore, on which this talismanic seal was engraved, he is supposed to have accomplished the most extraordinary actions, and by it to have enlisted in his service the labors of the genii for the construction of his celebrated Temple.  In time, with the progress of the new religion, it ceased to be invested with a magical reputation, although the Hermetic philosophers of the Middle Ages did employ it as one of their mystical symbols; but true to the theory that superstitions may be repudiated, but will never be forgotten, it was adopted by the Christians as one of the emblems of their faith, but with varying interpretations.   The two triangles were sometimes said to be symbols of fire and water, sometimes of prayer and remission, sometimes of creation and redemption, or of life and death, or of resurrection and judgment.  But at length the ecclesiologists seem to have settled on the idea that the figure should be considered as representing the two natures of our Lord--His Divine and His human nature. It was worn around the neck on the end of a crimson ribbon.  It weights 9.85 grams and is in exceptionally fine condition.

Thomas Harper

Personal & Masonic History

R.W. Bro. Thomas Harper Born 1744 London, England.

Initiated in London in 1768.

Then in Charlestown, South Carolina he became the first Junior Warden of Lodge No.190.

Active in the Holy Royal Arch during the 1770s.

He was a most influential member of the Grand Masters lodge No.1 on the Atholl Register, Now No.1 on the Register of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Honored in September 1785 as a Grand Lodge Officer under the Atholl Society.

He became Master of this Lodge in 1793 holding office with distinction for 35 years.

He was actively involved in The Globe Lodge as Master in 1793.

He joined the Lodge of Antiquity in 1792 from 1797 until 1801 was Treasurer.

He had a long association with Nine Muses Lodge first joining in 1800 and in 1814 he was elected Deputy Master a position he held until his retirement in 1827.

He was one of the assessors who prepared the Articles of Union and subsequently became one of its signatories in 1813.

In business Thomas Harper was a very successful silversmith, first registering his mark at Goldsmiths Hall on May 27th 1790. It is known that Thomas Harper was in practice while in America. The South Carolina Gazette in January 1773, carried an advert describing him as a working jeweler and goldsmith.

A special "Thanks" to John D. Shearer of www.deco1925.com for submitting the pictures and description of this wonderful jewel to our museum.

 

         

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