It’s a rite of passage some say. It’s a way to remember high school say others. Next to a letter jacket, it’s a status symbol for upperclassmen. What is it? A class ring, of course.
The tradition of class rings originated at the United States Military Academy at West Point with the class of 1835. Despite their venerable origins, high school rings seem to have a fleeting allure.
A trip around some online forums where class ring discussions are going on and, no surprise, many visitors report not wearing their high school class ring after high school ended. College rings seemed a bit different, more so for men than women.
I remember getting my class ring. It wasn’t cheap, but it was cool. I remember picking the stone color, the embellishments that covered the sides of the ring based on my interests and the anticipation of its delivery. Then, like many of my peers, I wore it my senior year, then put it away in my jewelry box. Money my parents spent well? Probably not. It did make me happy at the time. But my jewelry box saw the ring way more than the ring saw the light of day once I was in college and beyond. It just didn’t have the same importance that it once did.
Based on the forum conversations, I’m not alone in my abusive class ring treatment. And, given the large number of class rings I’m seeing come across my desk, I have to wonder if the tradition of getting a class ring is passe. Or is it that we just get wiser after high school?
Just for fun, I visited the Josten’s website. Josten’s is the place for class rings – high school, college, military, etc. They also offer a variety of other items you might find helpful, such as, graduation notices, spirit clothing, and so on. My interest was to determine how much I would have to pay today to buy the same ring I had in high school. I was surprised at all the choices available now! My ring, which looked like a smaller version of a men’s ring, was fashioned in 18k gold and would cost $764.00 today. In hindsight, it was nothing special, really. And that’s a lot of money to spend for something most people only wear for a year.
Don’t get me wrong. I remember how badly I wanted a ring to signify I was nearly out of high school. I’m not down on class rings, but it seems like the investment is fleeting. I’m just wondering if, in the bigger scheme of things, it’s really a good purchase.