Every year in the United States, more than 6.7 million students graduate from colleges and high schools across the country. This signals the end of a significant chapter of their life and can be a very emotional time. So it is nice to have something to remember this time by.
Class rings first originated in 1835 at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. They quickly became an extremely popular way of commemorating your time at an educational institution.
Now a college class ring or high school class ring is a common gift students receive at their graduation. These personalized rings acknowledge a student’s school and graduating class. They can also feature other school-related details, such as a school motto.
However, to create a truly impressive class ring you need to work with a skilled class ring company. They will work with you on your design and deliver a quality ring that will stand the test of time. Read on to find out exactly what you should look for in a class ring company.
Know What You’re Looking For in Your Class Ring
Before you buy a class ring, you need to have an idea of what you’re looking for. When it comes to designing your class ring the world really is your oyster.
You may, for example, have a traditional school design that you use each year and customize for the graduating class.
So you might keep the material of the ring and motto the same but change the gemstone and graduating year. Or you may be looking for a fresh design each graduating year.
Whatever your design, knowing what you’re looking for will help you find a company that works for you. All class ring design companies will want to know about your design plans when they first speak to you.
You can then use this to assess how well they will execute your ring design. They might also highlight any limitations, such as the type of gemstones that they have available. This can help you narrow down which companies you want to work with.
Look for a Class Ring Company That’s Willing to Collaborate
If you have been put in charge of creating a class ring this is a huge responsibility. Because of this, it is a good idea to utilize the expertise of the class ring company that you are working with. After all, they have a lot of experience creating class rings.
So put this to good use! They will be able to talk you through the significance of certain ring designs and give you practical design advice. For example, they will talk you through gemstone and metal materials to suit your budget.
If you aren’t sure where to start with your design then an experienced class ring company can work with you. They will help you create a unique design that incorporates:
- Your school name
- Your school colors
- The graduation year
- Your school motto
- Personalized engravings (such as student names or achievements)
Obviously, you can pick how much or how little information you want your class ring to contain. Class ring companies will also offer a range of basic ring designs to build upon and personalize.
Look for a Company That Offers Different Design Options
Because class rings have been around for a while, a lot of different design options are available.
The most traditional, for example, are similar to signet rings and feature the crests of educational institutions. Others incorporate the crest design into the metalwork of the ring itself. More modern designs feature slim bands and alternative gemstone shapes.
Of course, this is all a matter of preference. However, it is important to check that the company you are looking at provides ring designs that you’re interested in using.
If you aren’t sure what sort of design you want to use then shopping around and looking at different designs can help you figure this out. This leads us to our next point.
Shop Around for a Class Ring Company
When designing a class ring it can be tempting to find a company that you like and stick with them. After all, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?
However, shopping around for a class ring company could help you find better quality rings and better prices. This lets you compare what sort of design options are available and settle on a ring that you really love.
If you are planning to buy multiple graduation rings then you may be able to get a bulk discount. In that case, it is worth asking for a quote from each class ring company that you speak to.
Look for an Experienced Company
Each students’ class ring is going to be extremely sentimental and should be designed to last them a lifetime. Because of this, you want to trust the company that makes it and this is why experience is important.
Experienced ring companies are tried and tested. They have years of quality ring-making under their belts and will be committed to maintaining their reputation.
A lot of established class ring companies are well known for specific design traits. So this can also help you narrow down your search if you have an idea of what you are looking for.
However, it is also worth noting that very in-demand companies may have a lot of schools relying on them for class rings. This means that they might need to take orders earlier in the year to guarantee to deliver them on time. This is essential if your students are going to receive their rings in time for graduation.
Discuss Gemstone Options
One of the key elements of your class rings is your gemstone. This sits at the center of the ring and all quality class ring companies should offer a range of different stones.
They come in different colors and finishes. So you should be able to find a gemstone that fits your planned design. Of course, if you have a particular gemstone or finish in mind then you should make sure that your class ring company of choice can provide this.
You may choose a gemstone that fits with your school colors. Rubies, garnets, red coral, and spinel are all great options if your school colors are red, for example. Or you may want to choose a gemstone for its symbolic meaning.
Peridot, for example, gems date back to Ancient Egypt and are thought to bring confidence, good luck, and health to the wearer. So this is a great gem to send graduates off into the world wearing.
Your gemstone of choice might be the centerpiece of your ring but the metal it is made of also matters a lot. This can affect how durable your ring is, which is important if you want your class ring to stand the test of time.
All decent class ring companies should offer a range of different metals for their rings to suit different budgets. The majority of class rings are made of platinum or silver, which are extremely durable.
If you are working with a tighter budget you may want to opt for a platinum or palladium and silver alloy. These mix platinum or palladium with silver to create a shiny, white-colored metal that resists corrosion.
If you have a bigger budget then you may want to opt for gold in your class rings. Most designers won’t recommend plating for your class ring as this can wear down over time. So the appearance of your ring will change over the years if you use plating.
Keep Your Budget in Mind
The whole concept of a class ring is that everyone in the graduating year will receive one. This means that you need to buy them for an awful lot of students.
Alternatively, if the school or college isn’t gifting class rings to the students, they need to be relatively affordable. This means that any student in the graduating class will be able to buy one.
Because of this, it is important to keep your budget in mind at all times. Doing a little research will help you to figure out a realistic figure for your class ring. Some of the most expensive class rings will cost over $600 although much cheaper options are available.
The price of class rings depends a lot on the materials used and the company that you are buying from. If you want to save money on your class rings you should consider using cheaper metals and replica gemstones.
When you first speak to a class ring company you should discuss your budget with them. If their products are totally out of your price range, save yourself time and start looking elsewhere.
Speak to Them About Your Timeline
Ideally, you will be planning your class ring design and purchase in plenty of time before graduation. After all, you want to be able to give students their graduation rings on the big day.
It is important to discuss the graduation date with your class ring company to ensure that they can get the rings to you in time.
It’s a good idea to allow a buffer to your deadline. That way if things get delayed you won’t be panicking. This also gives you time to wrap and present your rings nicely for the students receiving them.
If students are graduating at the end of the summer semester, for example, they should order their rings in March. Ordering too early could be a disaster if they end up graduating at a different time. So, as a rule of thumb, you should allow six weeks for ring production, customization, and delivery.
If a company cannot deliver within this timeline or is going to take longer, you need to know about this as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for your students’ graduation rings to arrive late.
Look for a Class Ring Warranty
Last but by no means least, make sure that you find a class ring company that offers a warranty on its products.
After all, your students are going to be spending a fair amount of money on their rings. So you want them to stand the test of time.
A warranty is essentially a type of guarantee that each class ring will last for a certain period of time.
If the ring becomes damaged or broken during this period then the company that made it will repair the ring. Or if it cannot be fully repaired they will replace it with a new ring so that your student has something to cherish from their graduation.
Some warranties cover specific types of damage, such as gemstones coming loose. These are primarily caused by issues with the workmanship in the first place. Other companies will guarantee the ring for any type of damage at all.
A class ring warranty can also tell you a lot about the company that you are working with. This demonstrates that they are committed to creating high-quality products that will last. So you can trust them to create truly remarkable class rings.
Find Your Perfect Class Ring Company Today
As you can see, there are a lot of things you should keep in mind when looking for a class ring company. These top tips will ensure that you find the perfect company to deliver quality class rings that will last a lifetime.
Ready to start creating your class ring? Then head over to our shop to browse our latest class rings.