The Skulls, Pt. III
June 22, 2006 9:02 AM   Subscribe

What secret society does a gold ring with black triangles-- 10 or so of them-- around its circumference represent? Two of my friends in college (Ivy League) wore these identical rings. When asked about it, they would say "A friend gave it to me," and then change the subject. Rumor had it that these were secret society rings. Any ideas?
posted by bethm to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
What college?
posted by bigmusic at 9:07 AM on June 22, 2006


Columbia
posted by bethm at 9:08 AM on June 22, 2006


From experience, I can tell you that referencing "a friend" and then changing the subject may have something to do with Alcoholics Anonymous. Google doesn't bring up anything on that particular turn of phrase.

One thing that bothers me, though: AA members typically have pins to denote length of sobriety, and I've never heard of anyone going to the trouble of making a ring. Plus, a college-aged person with a 10 year (if the triangles represent a year) ring would mean they started drinking at a particularly early age, right?

Eh, it's a shot in the dark.
posted by thanotopsis at 9:29 AM on June 22, 2006


Did they possibly give them to each other? Either out of friendship or as a sign of a secret romantic fling?

I'm sure you've thought about it and dismissed the possibility - just covering all bases here.
posted by voidcontext at 9:34 AM on June 22, 2006


There are lots of triangles (including black triangles on rings) in Masonic imagery.
posted by acoutu at 9:35 AM on June 22, 2006


Was it something like this? If so, it's an AA ring.
posted by essexjan at 9:48 AM on June 22, 2006


slightly off topic. Isn't June 28th the annual Skull and Bones "secret" meeting. Be curious to know if George Bush and John Kerry have any public appearances that day.
posted by any major dude at 9:54 AM on June 22, 2006


There are lots of triangles (including black triangles on rings) in Masonic imagery.

Acacia Fraternity is a Greek fraternity descended from Freemasonry, but is NOT a secret society. One of our symbols is a 3-4-5 triangle. Our colors are black and gold; in fact, I have a gold-on-black 3-4-5 triangle on my class ring.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:57 AM on June 22, 2006


Wow, I've heard of Acacia, but not met a member before (I am a Mason and a DeMolay). Nice to meet you, ZenMaster.

There is a common Scottish Rite Masonic ring called the 14th Degree ring, but it only has one triangle on it (ditto the 33rd degree ring).
posted by mattbucher at 11:25 AM on June 22, 2006


Are either of them gay? Traditionally the triangle is pink, but I've seen more upscale jewelry that's meant to be a bit more subtle.
posted by desuetude at 11:56 AM on June 22, 2006


ZMT, old Acacia member here too. Boy, nothing like being grilled over the Pythagorean theorem after 5 days of no sleep eh?

Of course, I'm curious as to the Masons myself. Never really met one, but have been reading about them for ages. how do you get in contact with the masons? How does one become a member? Do I need a secret pass phrase like "Klaatu barada nikto?"
posted by Dantien at 12:24 PM on June 22, 2006


desuetude, a black triangle has some connotations of lesbian or feminist pride as opposed to the pink triangle's association with more general gay pride. (All have roots in the system of Nazi concentration camp badges.) I doubt that's the case with the ring mentioned, though.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:46 PM on June 22, 2006


Dantien : I'm pretty sure there are Free Mason Lodges in every major metropolitan city. Just go in and apply, like the Elks, I'd imagine. Seriously, next time you are in a major city, keep your eye out for a freemason lodge. It's like the Blue Car theory.

I also find them in the middle of nowhere somwhat small towns as well. It's creepifying!
posted by eurasian at 1:09 PM on June 22, 2006


After doing a google image search on gold ring triangles, I think the likeliest source is either a gay pride ring or an AA ring.

Dantien, it might be a bit of a derail, but to become a Mason, you must seek out membership. As Masons, we do not proselytize or recruit. If you don't personally know someone who is a member of the lodge, look in your phone book under fraternal organizations and call them up (you might see a lodge name and number followed by AF & AM or F & AM and this stands for "Ancient Free and Accepted Masons"). Tell whoever answers the phone that you are interested in becoming a Mason and they will take it from there. There is no secret password to know before you join. If you have more questions, my email is in my profile.
posted by mattbucher at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2006


Sorry if this continues the derail—but is there an adult society like the Masons out there that women can join?

(If it's too much of a derail, go ahead and delete it—I'll just post it as my AskMefi question next week.)
posted by limeonaire at 1:31 PM on June 22, 2006


Order of the Easter Star.
Lots of others, but that's the biggest one.
Also, Amaranth.
posted by mattbucher at 1:36 PM on June 22, 2006


Anyone who's vaguely related to a Mason can join the Order of the Eastern Star. [I used to pass an Eastern Star cemetary on my way to school.] The International Order of Job's Daughters seems to be for young women who're related to Masons, while the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls is another young women's group [although it doesn't seem to require that you be related to a Mason.] If you've been a membeer of either of those, you can become a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.
posted by ubersturm at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2006


bethm, did your friends seem to be of the CV ilk?

Everyone else, please stop this derail. I'm dying to know how this one turns out.
posted by mds35 at 1:43 PM on June 22, 2006


If you've been a membeer of either of those, you can become a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

In order for a woman to become a member of the OES, she must have a paternal connection to the Masons; grandfather, father, brother, husband and possibly a son. I was able to join Star because my grandfather is a Mason in good standing. When you apply to join, they will ask you if a) you believe in a supreme being and b) what your Masonic connection is. They will "investigate" to verify that that particular Mason was/is a member in good standing before voting on your membership. If they can't verify that then they will decline your application.
posted by googlebombed at 2:05 PM on June 22, 2006


When asked about it, they would say "A friend gave it to me,"

Occam's Razor answer: maybe a friend gave them the ring and they don't know anything about it. Or maybe they are cyborg lesbian spies.
posted by mattbucher at 2:34 PM on June 22, 2006


googlebombed, according to their webpage, the requirements are a little broader. That's where I was getting my information. < /derail>
posted by ubersturm at 3:09 PM on June 22, 2006


needs more cowbell: I know about black vs pink for pride triangles. (Bisexual feminist here, actually.) Black is used to highlight the detail in jewelry, though. And back when I sold jewelry, I used to sell rings that sound a lot like the ones described to couples looking for something a bit less...loud...than much of what dominates the Pride Jewelry market. (With the rhinestones and the vermeil and the CZs)
posted by desuetude at 3:56 PM on June 22, 2006


Googlebombed: I thought the OES and Freemasons no longer required that you believe in a supreme being?
posted by spaceman_spiff at 4:23 PM on June 22, 2006


Limeonaire, if you mean is there an enjoyable club for professional women, then take a look at the Soroptimists.

"Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world." http://www.soroptimist.org
posted by Idcoytco at 5:01 PM on June 22, 2006


Thanks for the information, guys.

[/derail]

As for the ring question—bethm, are these two friends of the same gender?
posted by limeonaire at 6:22 PM on June 22, 2006


Wow, I've heard of Acacia, but not met a member before (I am a Mason and a DeMolay). Nice to meet you, ZenMaster.

There is a common Scottish Rite Masonic ring called the 14th Degree ring, but it only has one triangle on it (ditto the 33rd degree ring).


Hi there mattbucher; nice to meet you too. Note that the Acacia Fraternity triangle is not equilateral like the 14th and 33rd degree ring, but in 3-4-5 proportions, as in the concrete sign on the fron lawn of my old frat house:



ZMT, old Acacia member here too. Boy, nothing like being grilled over the Pythagorean theorem after 5 days of no sleep eh?

Dantien: I'm sure I know not of what you speak. ;)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:52 PM on June 22, 2006


Googlebombed: I thought the OES and Freemasons no longer required that you believe in a supreme being?

The Chapter of OES I belong to still has that on their form that you have to sign when you want to become a member. These come from General Grand Chapter. They have opened it up so that even if you aren't Christian you can still join but everything is still taken from the Bible and the prayers are still Christian. I haven't heard anything about them removing the supreme being element from the requirements as I don't believe there would be much of an OES left if they did.
posted by googlebombed at 7:49 PM on June 22, 2006


Those are joke batman and robin rings. They are having you on. Don't go for it.
posted by zackdog at 2:01 AM on June 23, 2006


Clever ideas all. To answer the obvious question... they are of the same gender (male) but both are involved in heterosexual relationships. I wonder if they tell their girlfriends any more than they tell me!

And if you really want to be creeped out, Masonic housing at UT Austin.
posted by bethm at 5:37 AM on June 23, 2006


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