The Order of Solomon’s Seal (sometimes referred to as the “Order of King Solomon’s Seal”1Werlich, Robert: Orders and Decorations of All Nations. Quaker Press.or the “Order of the Seal of Solomon” or the “Order of the Crown of Solomon”2French manufacturer Arthus-Bertrand refers to it as the Order of “the Crown [Couronne] of Solomon”, as did the first Duke of Harar., and earlier — before the current collar Order of Solomon came into being — just as the “Order of Solomon”) was founded by Emperor Yohannes IV in 1874 [see The Order of Solomon]. The insignia comprised a badge and star. The badge — a combination of a cross and a star of David — is a pendant from an emerald green moiré sash. This sash is the same as for the Order of Solomon, but with the different insignia (badge) and star. The star, badge and sash of Solomon’s Seal are below. Paris jeweller Arthus-Bertrand has been the principal maker of the Order, although it was also made by the Addis Ababa-based crown jeweller, B. A. Sevadjian, which, after several generations of work on Imperial Orders and artefacts, was reportedly taken over by the State during the current interregnum.
The Order of Solomon’s Seal was frequently worn by Ethiopian sovereigns. Originally it was reserved for members of the Imperial Family, heads of foreign states, and to individuals who had rendered particularly meritorious service to the Throne.3Werlich, Op Cit. Among the foreign heads of state to receive the Order was King Paul of Greece, who was invested with it in 1959 during the visit of Emperor Haile Selassie to Greece.4Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs Protocol Department archives. The Order was bestowed on princes of the dynasty and foreign princes. It was also always bestowed on the Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and very occasionally on international figures, including US President Dwight Eisenhower, of the United States, and Earl Mountbatten of Burma. The Order was presented in its original form — that is, the design instituted by its founder, King Yohannes IV — to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The Order in its original form had also been bestowed upon Queen Victoria in 1897 for her Diamond Jubilee.
Emperor Haile Selassie in 1930 instituted the collar to the order as the highest form of honour in the Imperial pantheon.5Werlich, Robert. Op Cit. [ see The Order of Solomon] This then became the separate Order of Solomon, as noted. Even so, there was often confusion and, indeed, a lack of official clarity in the distinction between the Order of Solomon and the Order of Solomon’s Seal even in the 1930s. And today, the Paris jeweller, Arthus-Bertrand, refers to the Solomon’s Seal order as the “Crown of Solomon”. In 1936, the two orders were listed together, with the order being in a total of five grades: the Collar of Solomon (the Chain; now the Order of Solomon); Grand Cordon (or Grand Cross) of Solomon with Plaque; Grand Officer of (the Order of) Solomon; Commander of (the Order of) Solomon; and Knight or Chevalier of (the Order of) Solomon.6Zervos, A. Le Miroir de l’Ethiopie Moderne 1906-1935. Op Cit. However, the Order today is awarded only in the one grade: that of Knight Grand Cross.7Le’ul Ras Asserate Kassa, President of the Crown Council from 1972 to 1974, was a Grand Officer of the Order of Solomon (now clearly known as Solomon’s Seal). He was also Grand Cross/Grand Cordon holder of the Orders of Trinity, Menelik II, and the Star of Honour of Ethiopia (now Star of Ethiopia). He was the last President of the Crown Council before the 1974 coup and revolution.
Holders of the Order may identify themselves with the use of the post-nominal initials KSS (Knight of the Order of Solomon’s Seal) or DSS (Dame of the Order of Solomon’s Seal).