The first-ever class rings were created back in 1835 in West Point, New Work at the United States Military Academy. Graduating students used their class rings as a memento of their time at the academy. Nowadays, class rings are a popular choice for graduating classes across the US.
And there are plenty of these! In fact, over 6.7 million graduates pass through American colleges and high schools every year. This also means that creating a truly unique class ring design can be challenging.
For your ring designs to stand out in the crowd, you need to keep every design aspect in mind. Fortunately, when it comes to class ring customization, the world really is your oyster. Working with each element of your ring will ensure that you create something truly unique for each graduating class.
So where do you start? If you’re looking for inspiration for your class ring designs, you’re in the right place! Read on to find out six brilliant ring designs and our top tips for making yours unique.
Why is it Important to Carefully Choose Class Ring Designs?
Class rings have a long and important history among American educational institutions and with good reason. They are something for your graduating class to cherish and even pass down through their family.
Because of this, it is worth thinking carefully about the design you want to choose. After all, this is something that they will have to keep and wear for the rest of their lives. So you want it to look good!
However, planning your class ring design carefully also helps when it comes to the logistics of ordering it. Knowing what you’re looking for will help you when communicating with different class ring companies. This will help you choose the right company to work with in order to create something truly special.
Class Ring Design Elements to Consider
Even when you are creating a unique class ring design, there are some staple elements that you should use. This includes your school name and the graduating year for that class.
However, there are plenty of other elements that you might like to incorporate into your ring design. Deciding on which ones you want will help you to narrow down your ring design. You may also want to include:
- Your school motto
- Your school’s colors
- Individual students names or achievements
- Your school crest
- Gemstones on your ring
Of course, every class ring has a limited amount of space on it. So if you want to include a lot of these elements then you will have to plan your ring design very carefully indeed. An experienced ring design company will be able to help you do this.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at six truly unique class ring design ideas.
1. Using Your College’s Crest
Traditionally, gemstones have been a popular choice in class ring designs. Often this gemstone is set in a thick-banned, signet-style of ring. This gives them a bold and striking appearance but it isn’t always that unique.
If you are looking for an alternative focus for the centre of your ring then your school crest could be the perfect option. An engraved crest will look much more subtle than a gemstone but it will still be recognizable. This can also make getting your class ring cleaned much easier.
Of course, you can still engrave the traditional information, such as a graduation date, around the chest or on the ring’s band. So your class ring design will strike the perfect balance between tradition and uniqueness.
2. Incorporating Your Mascot
If you really want to think outside of the box then you can’t get much more personal than a school mascot. This is another good alternative if you don’t want to use a gemstone or crest at the center of your ring.
If like the idea of incorporating your school mascot into your ring design but still want gemstones, you don’t have to choose! You could use tiny gemstones for the eyes of your mascot. Or have a metal work mascot encircling a larger gemstone.
This is sure to create a design that has personal significance for your graduating class and stands out from the crowd!
3. Class Rings With Thin Bands
A lot of class rings that you’ll see will use thick bands. This is partly due to tradition and partly due to practicality. After all, you can fit a lot more information on a ring with a thick band.
However, you are looking for something more modern then you might want to look at rings with thinner bands. These will look a lot simpler than traditional class rings. Because of this, your graduating class may find that they actually wear them more often.
If you are planning to use a thin band then it’s a good idea not to overload them with information. Engraving a school motto and date of graduation might be enough to keep your ring looking classy.
If you want to incorporate more information then you could intertwine a series of thin bands around your gemstone or centerpiece. This gives you more space to engrave information without making the band itself much thicker.
4. Classic Signet Rings
Of course, if you want to go for something sleek and classic, you don’t have to ditch tradition completely. In fact, the original designs of class rings were a lot simpler than most of the ones you’ll see today. So, in that way, they have become quite unique.
Classic signet rings dispose with gemstones and intricate engraving. Instead, they feature a thick band with a flat, (usually) circular centerpiece. This often feature a single engraved design, such as a crest, data, or motto. Or, for something extra special, you could engrave a flatten gemstone in the center of your signet ring.
If you want to include more information on class ring designs, you might want to think about engraving this on the inside of the ring itself. For example, this could be where you feature the date of the graduating class or the wearer’s name.
This can give your rings a classy and personal touch as the wearer gets to choose who they share that information with.
5. Creating Stunning Metal Work
As you’ve already discussed, there are a lot of options when it comes to the band design for your class ring. But just because a gemstone or crest might be the centerpiece of your ring, this doesn’t mean the metal work you use is insignificant. In fact, you can use this as far more than a base for your engraving.
Instead, you can use this to make your ring even more personal for your graduating class. If your school or college is from a particular region, it might be well known for a local flower, for example. Using intricate metalwork, you could incorporate this into your class ring design.
Alternatively, you can use intricate metal work to present your gemstones and other ring features in a way that is truly unique. Looking through a portfolio of class ring work can help you get great inspiration for thinking outside the box with your metal work.
6. Using Gemstones for a Unique Design
As we’ve already mentioned, often class ring designs use a single gemstone at the center of the ring. The rest of the ring design, such as your graduating year and the school motto, centers around this. However, this is not the only way that you can use gemstones in your ring design.
If you are opting for a more simple and subtle ring design, you might choose a thinner band. In that case, you might put your “Class of [year]” inside the ring. If so, you could make the outside of the ring look more impressive by setting gemstones in the band.
Alternatively, you could set a series of gemstones in the center of the band for a more unique design. This will make your class ring look similar to more mainstream jewelry, which is no bad thing. In fact, it means that your graduates are likely to get more use out of their class ring.
Thinking About Gemstone Symbolism
Speaking of gemstones, if you are planning to use them, then it’s important to think carefully about what you choose.
The majority of class ring designs use a single color scheme when it comes to gemstones. This might be one central gemstone or a large colorful stone surrounded by smaller clear gems.
There are lots of things that can influence your choice of gemstone. You might go for one that reflects your school colors, for example, or stick with the traditional stone used in previous class rings from your school.
It’s important to remember that a lot of colorful gemstones carry symbolic meaning as well. Peridot, for example, is a green gemstone that dates back to Ancient Egypt. It is thought to bring good luck, health, and confidence to the wearer — so it would be a great choice for a class ring!
Picking a Material
The metal that you choose for your ring is also important. Again, this will depend a little on your color scheme and most rings will come in gold or silver hues. However, the metal itself can have a big impact on the price of the ring and its longevity.
Gold is, of course, an expensive choice for a class ring. So unless you’re working with a big budget then you might want to steer clear of this.
That said, most manufacturers recommend avoiding plated rings as the plating will rub away over time. So if you are looking for a gold ring, it’s worth discussing your options with the company you’re working with.
If you are looking for silver rings then palladium and silver alloys are extremely shiny and resist corrosion. Alternatively, if you’re working with a bigger budget then you might want to look at platinum rings.
Finding a Company That is Willing to Collaborate
When it comes to designing your class ring, if you want to create something that is truly unique you need to find a company that is willing to collaborate. They should offer a range of different ring designs that you can then customize to suit your needs.
It is also worth asking about whether or not its possible to tailor a design template to incorporate specific features that you are looking for. You should do this when first deciding which class ring company you want to use.
A collaborative company will also be able to make design suggestions to find something that really reflects what you are looking for in a class ring.
Keeping Your Budget in Mind
If you are creating a class ring then you want to make sure that every student in your school or college will be able to purchase one. After all, this is a momento for all students to enjoy over the years.
Because of this, it is important to keep the cost of your ring in mind while designing it. Additional customizations can significantly increase the price of your ring.
When done well, keeping your design bold and simple can create a stunning ring that doesn’t break the bank.
Get Help With Class Ring Designs Today
Whether you a designing a college class ring or a high school class ring, there are plenty of things to consider. However, taking the time to perfect your class ring designs will make all the difference in the long run. Your graduating class will be thrilled with the result and will walk away with a keepsake that they can cherish for life!
Are you ready to learn more about class rings and how to make the most of them? Then check out our latest guide on how to wear class rings for all our top tips.