Jewels of the Craft

When John Dutchman-Smith started his collection of Masonic charity jewels 10 years ago, who would have believed that he would collect around 650 jewels and have them displayed in 14 cabinets.

John Dutchman-Smith with part of the collection.

John Dutchman-Smith with part of the collection.

John has been a major player in the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity said that he decided to collect charity jewels which commemorate the United Grand Lodge of England charities: Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys plus the West Lancashire Masonic Charities. This was later extended to cover jewels from other orders.

The collection dates from 1880 to the present day. The jewels from 1940 to 1945 were made of cardboard whilst those after 1945 are made of base metal. However, those produced before 1940 are silver or silver gilt, with some in pure gold.

There is a case with some very special jewels including the one presented to Lord Latham, the then Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Lancashire, for the Royal Masonic Institute for Girls dated 1902, the star of the collection.

Tony Harrison (left) congratulates John.

Tony Harrison (left) congratulates John.

John said that he was sure this was the most comprehensive collection of UGLE Masonic charity festival jewels anywhere in the world, including the collections of the charities themselves. There are gaps, so if you have a jewel for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution 1880 or Grand Charity for 2014 or 2015 and wish them to be displayed, contact John Dutchman-Smith.

John thanked the Westhoughton Masonic Hall for hosting the collection. He also thanked the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for the magnificent display cases and paid tribute to his wife Joyce for her enormous help and endless patience.

The collection is on permanent loan at the Westhoughton Masonic Hall. On viewing the collection, Tony Harrison Provincial Grand Master said that this was a superb resource which should not be missed.

Pictured left: Royal Masonic Institution for Girls 1902 jewel, the prize of the collection. Pictured right: Some of the 14 display cases on view at Westhoughton Masonic Hall.

Pictured left: Royal Masonic Institution for Girls 1902 jewel, the prize of the collection. Pictured right: Some of the 14 display cases on view at Westhoughton Masonic Hall.