High school and college class rings, which are also known as graduate rings are the rings worn by alumni and students to mark the occasion of their graduation in their high schools or colleges. Although, these rings are found more personalized nowadays, there was a time when they were uniform and unique, depending on the school or college.
The United States Military Academy is the oldest military academy in the US established in 1802. In 1835, the batch of the cadets started this tradition of wearing class ring as a reflection of their unity, and the memorandum of their days at academy. Over the last 172 years, almost all schools and colleges adopted and popularized this tradition.
In the initial years, their appearance was same for one single school or college. The only change used to take place was in the year of completion of the graduation.
Thus in initial years, they denoted the characteristics of the school or college principally. But over the years, this trend changed considerably and nowadays, students opt for more personalized ones as per their choices.
Over the years, they have become the expression of the students' personality. It is the reflection of various characteristics like interests, fun, events, studies, sports, recognition, and the common ground that represents your group at school or college.
Many graduates cherish them for many years after their graduation, and in some cases they can become precious heirlooms, which are passed down through the generations.
Usually, ring makers will pounce down on graduating classes preceding to the end of the school year. You will find numerous options to personalize a ring as per your choice. Today, many of the makers help you to design your own ring.
With diverse designs and other parameters like color and metal, the possibilities are nearly never-ending. While some students choose to buy the ones with stones of school colors, some may prefer to go with the color of birthstones, or even a color they fancy most.
Usually, the name of the student or the name of the school or college is carved on the ring. They often have the mascot or logo of school and the graduation year. In some cases, they can also have an emblem reflecting certain extracurricular activities.
It is the purchaser that will decide the type of metal used for these rings. He/she can choose from white gold, yellow gold, or platinum. There are plenty of options, which can cater your need within your specified budget.
These rings come in two shapes ― oval and rectangular. Most of them display the name of the school or college carved around the stone in a circular pattern. Men's rings are larger than the women's. To get that extra luster or shine, they should have cuts inside the stone. These vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and your own personal desire.
Another thing which can be found engraved on the opposite side of the ring is a student's academic or social organizations. Usually the school's mascot, insignia, or logo will be on one side of the ring. Many students have their name, nickname, or initials engraved on the underside of the ring or underneath the stone.
The traditional manner involves wearing it on the ring finger of the left hand, which is also used for the wedding ring. However, many times it is also worn on the ring finger of the right hand with the insignia facing the wearer, when the arm of ring is stretched.
There can be a possible exchange of these rings between a boyfriend and his girlfriend. The girl wears the boyfriend's class ring around her neck tied in a golden chain, while the boyfriend usually wears it on his last finger.
Care and Cleaning
Even the purest of jewelry gets tarnished or discolored, if subjected to harsh cleaning materials like acids or alkalis. So, exercising appropriate measures is essential to maintain its luster. Washing with a mild soap or toothpaste, and polishing with a good silver cleaner can be a good practice. Finish it by buffing with a soft cloth.
High school and college class rings do serve as a powerful souvenir of days long past. They can be brought out of the jewelry box, dusted off, and reflected upon as the person recollects the memories of their past spent in school. There are not many items, which can serve as such persuasive reminders, and this makes them a praiseworthy asset.