You might wonder, “What is a class ring?” You may also wonder what do class ring symbols mean? Today, we’re going to give you answers.
You may have heard amazing stories about people who’ve been reunited with their class ring. After reading or seeing the story, you may have wondered, “Why all the fuss?”
Have you ever looked at a class ring closely? Class rings have lots of sentimental meaning. In fact, there’s a lot of significance packed into these relatively small pieces of fine jewelry.
Keep reading to learn what a class ring is and more about the deeper meaning behind class rings.
What Is a Class Ring?
In some cases, a ring is one of the most important physical objects in a person’s life. Often, this object serves as a wedding band.
However, before marriage, there’s usually another ring that has important sentimental value. It’s the class ring worn by graduates from high school and college.
Class rings are popular in the United States and Canada. They commemorate advancing from an institution. Usually, they’re also personalized based on the activity an individual participated in while attending school.
The First Rings
When it comes to class ring meaning, a class ring is a fantastic way to show your school spirit. It can show how much you support your college or school. It’s also a great way to document your past school interests for posterity.
A class ring can also show your affiliation or camaraderie with groups. These are the reasons why class rings came into existence in the first place.
You can trace the history of class rings as far back as ancient Egypt. Then, some sects wore matching rings to show their affiliation with a cause, class, or religion.
Later on, the Romans embraced this practice. Eventually, it’s said that Rome’s use of rings to show affiliation took root in the military.
This kind of ring came to be known as a signet. Historically, it’s a great style for something that represents the wearer.
Initially, men wore class rings. In recent years, however, they’re also becoming popular with women.
Class rings are a natural progression from the signet ring for women. It gives them a way to put their own spin on a classic ring design.
Class Ring Symbolism
A class ring has symbolism that transcends tough times. In the United States, the class ring tradition began more than 185 years ago, in 1835.
West Point military academy students started the tradition. They were the first graduates to wear a class ring.
Then and now, the idea was to visually display unity among a group. Someone came up with the idea that everyone should wear a similar class ring, and the idea has since taken off.
The students of that West Point graduating class all wanted something to remember their time at the institution. Since then, the class ring has become a standing tradition of every graduating West Point class. Now, the practice has spread to nearly all high schools and universities.
The Class Ring Evolves
Initially, groups wore a standard and unified class ring. Over time, however, students started to customize their class rings.
At West Point, for instance, the standard design of the school’s name and emblem remains the same. However, graduates can change small details of their class rings. These changes make the class ring more personal.
For example, a graduate can add their name to their ring if they desire. They can also add other details like their year of graduation.
Also, students can choose from a range of ring metals. Gold is the standard material for the West Point class ring. However, students can now also choose a silver or platinum setting.
There are yet other finishes available. For instance, some rings are available with a satin gloss finish. Alternatively, some graduates can order an antique finish class ring—more on these finishes in a moment.
Class Rings for Schools
Eventually, the concept of the class ring spread to institutions such as Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. To this day, class rings are a common symbol of accomplishment and pride at nearly every high school and college.
School and college graduates can also customize their rings. In fact, they have many more options compared to their predecessors.
As with West Point graduates, high school and college graduates can choose different ring finishes. They can also order class rings with different stones.
Moreover, high school and college students have the option to order individual customizations. For example, they can order their rings engraved with their name and academic interests.
Class Rings for Today’s Women
Ring size varies from person to person. Usually, however, there’s a distinct difference between men’s and women’s class rings. Men’s class rings are larger.
You may have become accustomed to delicate rings if you’re a woman. However, you’ll want to choose a chunkier style if you’re a female graduate. A larger ring is especially important if you want extra engraving.
Today, a class ring can become a part of your daily jewelry rotation. A class ring makes a statement and demands a weightier setting. In other words, a class ring is supposed to be big and bold.
A class ring is also versatile. It will look beautiful all by itself. Alternatively, it will hold its own along with a handful of rings if that’s what you prefer.
Sizing Up a Class Ring
The gemstone is a very important part of your class ring. The color of a gemstone varies by school.
Each school has a special color for their class rings. However, some students decide to break away from tradition.
As a result, there’s a growing demand for various gemstone cuts. Today, you can even order gemstones for your class ring in various sizes.
The Early Days of Class Rings for Schools
Today’s students have much more options when it comes to class rings. Historically, class rings were made with a uniform design and shape.
Over time, however, schools gave students the option to customize their class rings. Still, the name of the school and its crest typically remains a part of the design.
Also, gold was the standard material for traditional class rings in the past. Now, you can order a class ring in a range of materials, including silver, gold, and platinum.
You can even order a class ring with a satin finish. A satin finish shows the entire class ring in gold and has cuts to highlight the names and design of the ring.
An antique finish is another class ring option that’s available today. An antique finish class ring makes use of black enamel.
The enamel highlights the ring details. A designer might make a high-end antique class ring using platinum.
Stones for School Class Rings
In most cases, the gemstones for a class ring will remain the same. Now, however, it’s more common to order the stone of your choice. Also, there’s a relatively new trend among class rings, where students choose their birthstone for their class ring gemstone.
What Do Class Rings Mean?
The meaning of a class ring is straightforward. In short, a class ring is a rite of passage. It’s also a status symbol.
Furthermore, some couples exchange class rings. In this case, it serves as a symbol of commitment to each other.
Moreover, a class ring is a way to show your school pride. You can wear it after graduation as a symbol of your alma mater and youth. For a personalized touch, you can even add your school mascot or a special color theme to your class ring.
Wearing a Class Ring
In the days of ancient Egypt, scarab rings symbolized the promise of eternal life. Egyptians would wear their scarab ring for their entire life. When buried, the ring would remain on their finger in place over the left side of their chest, covering their heart.
Today, you’d wear your class ring on the third finger of your right hand. However, you can wear your class ring on whatever figure you choose. Otherwise, you might wear your class ring around a chain on your neck.
Ways to Wear a Class Ring
Before graduation, it’s customary to wear your class ring facing yourself. This gesture signifies that your graduation is pending.
However, you’d change the position of your ring on graduation day. The change will come when you move your graduation tassel from one side of your cap to the other.
At that time, you’d also turn your ring around. Now, everyone can see that your ring is facing outward and know that you’ve graduated.
Class Ring Traditions
Almost 200 years later, the class ring tradition that started at West Point continues. Every year, a new group of graduates picks out their class rings.
Today, however, they get to customize them to fit their personalities. Nevertheless, class rings still serve as a tangible memory of their experience at school.
Class Ring Number of Turns
At some institutions, there are traditions regarding the turning of the ring. From region to region, ring turning traditions vary. However, the spirit of the occasion remains the same.
The turns of a class ring may have different meanings at different schools. For instance, your best friend might be the first person to turn your ring.
Meanwhile, the tenth person to turn your ring might be your significant other. With this practice, there’s no specific number of times for people who are important in your life to turn your ring.
Again, the tradition is different at every school. As a result, you’ll have to ask around to find out which ring-turning conventions apply at your institution.
The Class Ring Ceremony
Some schools even have class ring ceremonies. During the ceremony, the students will receive their class rings from faculty members. Meanwhile, students’ friends and family members will look on.
A ring ceremony is a wonderful way to bond with your classmates. It’s also a terrific way to celebrate your coming graduation. For many graduates, a school ring ceremony is where their ring-turning tradition begins.
Graduation: The Big Day
At other schools, ring turning happens on the big day—graduation day. On graduation day, your classmates might turn your ring first. Next, your family and teachers might turn your class ring.
At different schools, the direction of ring turning varies. You might also have the option of whether to turn your ring counterclockwise or clockwise. In this case, you can choose the ring turning direction that you prefer.
However, no matter what direction you choose, you want to remain consistent. Part of the tradition involves everyone turning your ring the same way—until the last turn.
The Last Turn
The last turn of your class ring is one of the most important gestures of the event. The last person will turn your ring in the opposite direction from everyone else. The point of this gesture is to signify that no one else will turn your ring.
As you can imagine, this final turn is very important. Many graduates choose someone special to perform the last ring turn for this reason.
Find the Perfect Class Ring Today!
Now, you have a better understanding of the answer to the question, “What is a class ring?” If you’re looking for the perfect class ring, ClassRings.com has just what you need. We offer many attractive, high-quality class rings.
Don’t take our word for it. See for yourself! Please feel free to browse our online catalog.