Were you aware that the tradition of class rings began at West Point Military Academy in 1835? Since then, countless juniors and college students have purchased and worn class rings to remember their times at school.
For those who are getting ready to purchase a class ring, however, you may have many other questions than how the tradition began.
If you have been asking yourself “Is there a class ring etiquette to follow?” or “What finger do you wear a class ring on?” and other less common questions, you will want to read on and find all of the answers you need.
Frequently Asked Questions About Junior Class Rings
For juniors getting ready to choose a class ring, there can be a number of concerns you may have. Here are the answers to some common questions.
What Finger Do You Wear A Class Ring On?
Lots of students have no idea which finger is the right one for their class ring, and this can cause issues with sizing if you do not decide on time.
Most people choose to wear the class ring on their right hand’s ring finger, with students who attend military schools choosing their left ring finger to honor the old tradition of that finger being connected to the heart.
The middle finger of your right hand and the thumbs are the least common options for ring fingers because the bulkiness of class ring can be a hindrance for everyday tasks. Some people do choose to wear it on their pinkies or even together with their wedding ring, but, overall, the right-hand ring finger is the finger of choice.
When wearing the ring, make sure the insignia is facing inwards (facing you) while you are still enrolled in the school, and outwards when you graduate. This easily lets people know that you have graduated.
There is no fashion police coming to check on any of this, so do not be spooked about how to wear a class ring.
Will There Be a Ring-Turning Ceremony?
In many schools, when students graduate, they are encouraged to turn their rings so the insignia faces outward. This can happen during the graduation ceremony or before commencement.
Not all schools have this kind of ceremony and if they do, each one is different, so you may want to ask the school about its own process.
What Year Do You Get a Class Ring?
Generally, juniors order their rings early in the year and get the rings after the first semester. Most schools have a ring ceremony of some kind or a dance to commemorate the juniors.
There are some schools that schedule sizing and choosing of the rings right on campus, while others prefer that students do this electronically through portals or even using brochures. If the school does allow you to order them on campus, you can expect to be asked about the materials that you want, the inscription, and more.
When Do You Stop Wearing the Ring?
There is no definitive moment when you should stop wearing a class ring. Some people choose to wear them forever, while others stop wearing them right after graduation.
You can wear the ring until it no longer feels important to you or until it becomes a bother. If it does not fit anymore or if it is no longer an accurate reflection of your style, store it without guilt.
If, on the other hand, you want to keep the ring on for decades after your graduation, it is perfectly normal, as well.
What Metals are Class Rings Made Of?
Most class rings are made of 10K or 14K white, rose, or yellow gold, with some options available in 18K white or yellow gold. You can also get options in sterling silver, as well as platinum and palladium.
Platinum and palladium are white metals that are very shiny and resistant to corrosion, making them a popular choice.
Other options you may find are those made of white lustrium, which has a silver tone, and copper choices.
What Stone Can it Have?
Most class rings have a stone in the center, with the school’s name around it and designs engraved on either side. There are lots of options for the stones that you may want on your class ring.
One option that is traditional is to go with your birthstone. Whatever gemstone falls on the month of your birth goes right in the center of the ring. Most people choose the stone by their birth month, but there are also options related to the different days of the week. You can also go for the gemstone related to your astrological sign.
For other people, going for a natural stone feels like the better choice. You can customize the ring with options like hematite, carnelian, and many more.
You can also consider adding accent stones to highlight the center stone. Diamonds are a great choice for this. You can go for having a diamond border or have a band of diamonds across the center stone.
When choosing the stone, think of the budget you have. Some options, like the natural stones, tend to be more expensive than the gemstones.
Does the Stone’s Cut Make a Difference?
As with any piece of jewelry, the cut of the stone can have an impact on the overall look. Some cuts create a shinier stone, which might not be what you want if you prefer an understated look.
The number of facets on the stone’s surface will impact the shine. A premier cut, for example, will not have as many facets as a sunburst cut.
Frequently Asked Questions About College Class Rings
College class rings can help you honor the school that leads you on to your career. Learn the answers to the questions about this purchase you may have.
What Finger is Appropriate for a College Class Ring?
As with junior class rings, the choice most people go for is the right-hand ring finger. With college class rings, there is a bit more variation, however, with some students not wanting to remove their high school rings and instead choosing to put the college ring on an index finger or a pinky.
If you do not want to completely remove the high school ring, you can choose to wear it as a necklace and allow the college ring to take precedence on your ring finger.
When Do You Order and Receive the Ring?
There will usually be a ceremony during the year of your graduation. You will want to keep an eye out for information on how to choose the ring and purchase it, since most colleges have their own procedures and schedules for this.
As with the junior class ring, you will want to wear it with the insignia facing you until you graduate. The symbolism of turning the ring means that you are ready to face the world.
Is a Class Ring Worth Purchasing?
As you get ready to graduate from college, you may not be sure if it is worth investing in a class ring.
A class ring is a celebration of the time and work you put into graduating. Since you cannot purchase a class ring unless you fulfilled your institution’s requirements for graduation, it is a sign that you made it. It can bring a lot of pleasure to see it on your finger for this reason.
You can customize the ring as you would like, to commemorate the exact college experience you had.
A class ring is also a tradition that you may want to honor. It may mean a lot to your family and to you to be part of that kind of tradition. If you are on the fence about purchasing a class ring, go for it so that you do not regret it in the future.
Choosing Your Class Ring
Whichever class ring you are considering, it can be a good idea to know a bit about the process of selecting one and what pitfalls to avoid. Read on to make the choice you want.
How Much Do Class Rings Cost?
There are many factors that can affect the cost of a class ring. The metal it is made of, the kind of stone it has, the engravings, and any other custom options can impact the price. Class rings can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
In the low hundreds, you can find some gold rings as well as brass and alloys, while in the mid-hundreds you can get silver options.
The platinum options are usually the most expensive ones.
What Designs Can it Have?
One of the purposes of class rings is to commemorate your experiences in your high school or college. You will want to add special designs and items that have meaning for you.
Part of the standard design of most class rings is the student’s name, the year of graduation, and the school’s name. Apart from that, you can customize as you please.
For athletes, a great idea is to add the number of their jersey or the image of the school’s mascot. Musicians can opt for musical notes or the image of the instrument they played. Keep in mind that the more engravings you want, the larger the ring design will have to be.
The symbols that you can add to the class ring usually pertain to school classes, groups, organizations, sports, and lots of other activities. Some schools offer unique designs, while others use the standard symbols that other schools use.
If your school has a motto, why not add that as the inscription? You may, instead, want to add an inside joke you may have with friends, or inspiring lyrics of your favorite song.
How Large Should it Be?
This can come down to personal preference, but the number of engravings and words that you want to add to the ring can also have an impact on the size.
The first thing you need to do is find out what your ring size is. Once you know that, you can start seeing how many designs you want to add.
Class ring sizes are available in men’s, which are the classic large and bulky ring, and in women’s. Some companies use small, medium, and large measurements, while others stick to numeral measurements.
You can expect the traditional class ring for men to weigh about 21 grams, while the one for women can weigh around 9 grams.
Closed-Back or Open-Back?
Most class rings are closed-back. This means that there is a continuous band of metal, even under the center stone. There are some options, however, that are open-back.
An open-back ring will have less metal, so you can expect it to be lighter and more affordable than a closed-back one. The closed-back, however, gives you more space for engraving while offering more structural support to the entire ring.
If what you want is a lighter ring, then an open-back can be the right choice. Otherwise, go with the closed-back.
What Style is the Right One?
Class rings come in lots of different styles, with the traditional option still being the most popular. When you choose the design, you want to go for what looks best to you and not necessarily what everyone else is getting.
There are classic designs and more modern options, so take your time to think about what would look best on your finger and what option will allow you to add the custom details you want.
Commemorate Your Experiences
Do not let questions like “What finger do you wear a class ring on?” or worries about class ring etiquette stop you from considering the purchase of one.
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