History of Class Rings


C. O'Brien '13

This picture shows Padua Academy’s Class of 2017 Ring from Jostens. If you look at the picture from a zoomed in angle, the numbers 1 and 7 are represented on the right next to the emblem for the graduating year.

A little over 180 years ago, in 1835, at the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating classes worked together to make class rings. These rings, which may be similar to the ones on Rare Colors, were designed to visually show class unity. Everyone in the class made them so the rings were all of similar designs. For years after this tradition started, rings were created with uniform design and were sculpted for certain schools.

As years went on, customization became an option. Since 1835, the standard design for the school name and emblem has yet to change, but there are small details that can be added to the ring now. To make the ring more personal, a student’s name can now be added, as well as other details such as the year of the student’s graduation. Aside from personal details, rings are available in an assortment of metals. Usually a class ring is gold, but it can also be ordered in silver or platinum. Some rings are available in a satin (glossy) finish, or an antique finish; different finishes highlight different parts of the rings.

The stone is an important part to a class ring. Colors vary depending on the school, with each school having a specific color for their rings. Some students, however, may not like the big traditional stone. This is where the cut and size of the stone can be customized according to individual preferences, much like the options available for bespoke engagement rings Sydney.

Visual details are a big part of the rings, but the meaning behind the ring and the traditions along with it are of equal importance. There used to be, and still is in certain schools, a tradition where the class wears the ring on the ring finger of the right hand. Like a wedding ring is worn of the ring finger of the left hand to represent unity and a bond between partners, a class ring on the right hand ring finger represents the unity and bond of a class. If this tradition is not followed, then it is worn on whatever finger preferred. It is also accustomed that the rings crest face inward towards the wearer while at school.

Padua Academy Ring Masses date back all the way to the first years of Padua. Juniors who receive this ring are not given it as just a ring. This ring is a symbol of the community of Padua which connects all generations of Padua Alumni. Padua ring celebrations primarily focus on the unity of Padua classes and their growing as they continue their journey as students of Padua.

Padua Academy Class of 2019 is quickly approaching their ring mass. On January 31, 2018, Class of 2019 will be presented with their rings and their second yellow rose. For this time, is a chance for their class to connect and reflect on how far they have come at this point in their Padua journey. This ring is not only a symbol of bond and unity, but achievement.