So, you’re looking into class rings? Well, if you’ve got questions, we have the answers. Wearing class rings is a popular tradition that started in 1835. The original meaning of these rings was to represent pride, unity, and to mark the accomplishments that were made up to graduation.
Funny enough, class rings used to all be the same. Every single student of a school over a period of years wore the same ring. The only thing that was different about them was the sizes. The design and the material were the same for everyone and of course that changed not too long after.
Now that you are loaded with facts, keep reading to hear more, and to find out more about regalia and class rings as we take a deep dive into the specifics.
What Are Regalia Class Rings?
So, what exactly is academic regalia? It is the caps, gowns, hoods, and even the rings that are worn by students receiving diplomas and degrees. Did you know that you can actually link institutions to their past traditions by preserving the types of regalia that were worn at universities since the Middle Ages?
This is when long hooded robes were mainly needed for warmth. You can probably relate that to graduation from a master’s degree program where graduates will usually wear hoods to mark their accomplishments when thinking of regalia and class rings.
You may be wondering what all of the hype is about. You may also want to know how to decide if you should purchase a class ring, what finger you should wear it on, and where you should get started with shopping for one.
Next, we dive a bit deeper into the meaning of graduation regalia and if class rings are worth it, or not.
What Is the Meaning of Graduation Regalia?
As we’ve previously mentioned, graduation regalia will include the cap and gown, distinguished hoods, stoles, and cords. Think of it as anything to mark the accomplishments made by a student in a formal way.
Generally speaking, only those who have achieved an academic honor are entitled to wear certain types of regalia. Now you’re probably wondering what the meaning of it is.
In terms of class rings, the rings are worn by students, and alumni to commemorate their graduation and celebrate the achievement itself. These rings are usually worn for high school, college, or university graduations.
Here is something that you may not have already known, wearing class rings became a trend as early as the year 1835. It was first done at the West Point Military Academy and almost 200 years later as you can see, the trend is still alive and well.
These rings are meant to serve the purpose of providing a student with a long-lasting memory. There are a few things that go with this tradition though. Turning the ring is one tradition that is still upheld and differs from place to place.
What is this custom of turning the ring? Well before graduation, almost anyone can turn your ring. It will more than likely be your classmates, teachers, or family members. Whichever direction that they decide to turn it will vary from school to school.
It could either be turned counterclockwise or clockwise, it depends on what you prefer if your school doesn’t have a tradition for it. After you choose the direction that you prefer, make sure that every person that turns your ring does it in the same direction.
Here’s a little bit more to that, there are different customs or ways of thinking about turning the ring. They all vary depending on your location and your school. Take this into consideration, the first person that turns your ring could be your best friend.
The next person could be a significant other and so forth. The way this is done varies but here is an example to give you an idea. At some schools, a student might have a goal of having their ring turned 100 times.
The last two numbers of that year are also added onto that 100. With this year being 2021, if this is a standing tradition at a student’s school, they would have to have their ring turned 121 times. This custom symbolizes blessings of good luck.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how many times your ring is turned because every school has a different custom towards this so ask around about it at your school. You’re sure to find some good insight into the tradition.
Are Class Rings Worth It?
Whether a class ring is worth it is completely up to you and what you find to be important. However, as a general thought, a class ring is a reminder of a significant achievement. Many people want something to mark the occasion and that is what a class ring does.
Rings are for more than just symbolizing commitment or livening up your wardrobe.
Class rings can provide a deeper and more symbolic meaning especially in terms of college graduations and graduations from master’s degree level programs.
The first step in the ring trend will usually start in high school and you will notice that these rings are customizable which is what many students like about the idea.
You’re able to pick something that will represent your graduating high school while being able to tailor it to your personal taste and style. You may come across symbols that relate to your school’s mascot, the colors of your school, or even what your school is known for.
Here’s an adorable fact, class rings are sometimes given by a student to their boyfriend or girlfriend which signifies that they are officially dating. Who knew that a class ring could represent so much, right?
Class rings are more than just jewelry, they are very personal as we already know. Although they are mainly used to highlight achievements, you could also wear your class ring to show your membership to certain clubs, or groups and you can also pay additional tribute to your graduating class by having your graduation year plated on the ring.
You may not have known that the material of class rings has changed from when they first became a trend up to now. They originally were made out of gold but now you will notice that these rings are actually made from numerous materials. Students have the power over the materials that they decide to use.
Whether or not you decide to purchase a class ring will depend on how necessary you feel it is. However, marking achievements and having something to remember them by is always necessary.
When you work so hard to get to a certain place, you want to be reminded of what all it took for you to reach that goal.
What Hand Do You Wear Your Class Ring On?
To answer this question, you will usually wear your class ring on your right hand. It will be worn on the ring finger of your right hand as a more specific answer. If you didn’t already compare the idea of the right finger with something, this is actually the complete opposite of the common tradition of how wedding rings are worn in society.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Insignia that is displayed on the ring should face inward. This means that the Insignia should be facing the person wearing the ring while they are actively enrolled in school.
It’s worn this way while you’re enrolled in school so that you can be reminded of your journey and where you are completing that journey every time you look down at your ring.
The direction in which you wear it will change after graduation. Since graduation represents the completion of your journey, you will turn the ring around so that you can show off your alumni status.
This is a fun and engaging way to think about a class ring. It’s not just a piece of statement jewelry that comes with bragging rights, it’s a way to fuel the fire within you as you complete something that you have worked hard to achieve.
Then, its purpose transitions into marking that achievement and showing it off to the world without having to say a thing.
Also, if you’re wondering whether or not how you wear your class ring and what finger you wear it on differs by gender, it doesn’t. Men and women will wear class rings in the same way. Even though these are the ways that class rings are worn, that does not mean that you have to restrict yourself to doing it the same way.
Wear your class ring however you feel comfortable and in a way that makes you feel proud of your accomplishment. Whether you wear it in a traditional way or the way that you prefer, your special occasion will still be just as special.
College and High School Class Ring Etiquette
As far as etiquette goes, this plays into how you should wear your ring. As we mentioned earlier the class ring is usually worn on the right finger of the right hand, the Insignia will usually face the person wearing the ring while they are enrolled in school, and then the direction will be changed after graduation.
How you wear your ring is generally going to be the same for a high school or a college ring. On one side of the ring, you will usually see the student’s name, the graduation year, and their degree.
The other side of the ring will often have the school’s crest and any other designs that the student may have chosen while personalizing their ring.
A good way to find out more about ring design and etiquette regarding your school’s traditions would be to do exactly that. Reach out to the appropriate person at your school first.
Doing this will allow you to find out more about your school’s traditions when it comes to rings. This will help you to make appropriate choices during the design process.
By the way, the design process isn’t a complex process as it sounds. It’s a short string of choices that the student needs to make to help a company design the ring based on their preferences.
When Are You Supposed to Stop Wearing a Class Ring?
If you’re wondering if there is a time frame when you have to stop wearing your class ring, there isn’t. When you stop wearing your class ring it is completely based on your preference. You may decide to wear your class ring for weeks after graduation or as little as a few days. It might be different for others who may decide to wear theirs for years.
Here’s a good way to think about this, decide when you feel like you aren’t comfortable wearing the ring anymore. A good example of this could be if you are nearing your college graduation. As college graduation nears, expecting graduates will often be shopping for their college class rings.
This may be an appropriate time to switch one out for the other. Some people may even decide to wear both, it depends on what you are comfortable with. After mentioning that you may come across some people who prefer to wear both, let’s go ahead and state that one ring at a time is probably best.
Stacking multiple class rings may give off more of a cluttered type of look. If you are going to wear one ring at a time, try wearing the ring that represents your most recent achievements, or better yet just wear the ring that resonates with you the most. You can even alternate your rings throughout the week if you really want to wear both.
These concepts go for both college and high school rings. The general rule of thumb is that you are the only person that can tell you how long to wear or not to wear your class ring.
Regardless of whether or not you decide to wear your class ring or if you decide to wear it for a short or long period of time, your achievements will always be marked with or without the ring.
The class ring just gives you a fun way to honor a tradition within the American education system and a way to add great purpose to your accessory collection.
So, What’s Right for You?
Now that you know all there is to know about regalia and class rings, you should have an idea of whether or not the class ring tradition appeals to you or not.
Oftentimes, class rings are extremely popular among students because this is something that marks a special occasion that took four years or more to achieve. Keep that in mind as graduation nears.
Here’s something to think about, you could design your class ring to display significant marks of your personalized journey or you could even get completely matching rings with your friends. Class rings are meant to highlight a special occasion and to celebrate the person that the occasion is for.
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