Graduation rings, also called class rings, are a classic piece of jewelry for high school students.
Buying Graduation Rings
Most high schools provide an opportunity for students to purchase graduation rings each year. They will invite a single vendor to coordinate sales at lunches or during a homeroom period, and students in any grade are free to make a purchase. However, students may buy a class ring from another manufacturer. Local jewelry stores will offer rings from one or more companies, and even the jewelry counters of retailers like Kmart and Walmart sell a selection of graduation rings. Some of the major companies include:
Creating Your Ring
Graduation rings are highly customizable. In creating their individual rings, students must choose the material, design, stone, sides, and engraving.
Rings are available in gold, silver, white gold, and platinum. Students selecting a gold ring can also choose the purity of the gold, from 10K to 18K. Although the name they use differs, each company also offers rings in a non-precious metal alloy. Different finishes, such as an "antique" finish, may be offered.
Students can select both the cut and color of their stone. Birthstones are a popular choice. However, students are also free to choose their favorite color, a stone reflecting their school colors, their favorite gem, or any other consideration.
While most people think of the traditional thick band with a large stone, there are a number of graduation ring designs that look nothing like the classic style. Some of the newest looks include stackable rings and rings with prominent diamonds for extra bling.
For students selecting a traditional ring design, the most important choice involves selecting the two designs appearing on the sides of the ring. These panels are a chance to tell the world about your interests and in the future can provide an instant snapshot of who you were in high school. Just a few of the available options include:
- Academic-themed designs
- School mascots
- Arts and Music
- Religion-specific designs
- Sides celebrating your heritage
- Astrological signs
If the band of the ring is thick enough, ring companies also offer the option of having your name engraved in the underside of the ring. This can add to the ring's value as a future memento. On a more practical level, it can help you get your ring back if you leave it in the locker room or lose it while you're at the mall.
Graduation rings can be expensive. Some families view them as a necessary expense; others see them as a worthless extravagance, and most fall somewhere in between these two extremes. The following suggestions can keep your ring purchase form breaking the family budget:
- Buy your class ring early. The sooner you buy it, the more wear you'll get for your money.
- Shop around. The company visiting your school is the most convenient option, but not necessarily the most economical.
- Think about your jewelry-wearing habits. Some people just don't like to wear rings, and for them buying a class ring might not be worth it.
- If you think you might be interested in purchasing a college ring in the future, buy from a company offering high school class ring trade-ins toward the purchase of a college ring.
- Share the cost. The price could be split evenly; parents could agree to pay for the most basic ring with the student paying for any extra features, or any other agreement that works for your family.
- Say no to extras. Every extra feature adds to the cost of the finished product.
- Make it a gift. Parents can agree to purchase a class ring as a birthday or Christmas present.
- Understand that graduation rings aren't a requirement. There may be other things you'd rather spend your money on, and that's perfectly fine.