Truly Unique Custom Class Ring Designs
Wearing a class ring was once a rite of passage for a majority of graduating high school and college students. Class rings commemorated graduating from high school while serving as a way for students to display school pride. Today, there are many less students choosing to buy the gold, silver and platinum rings adorned with school mascots and sporting achievements. Increasingly, if one is even purchased, the keepsake is being stored in a drawer.
“There’s not as many class rings that are sold today as there were 30 years ago,” confirms Ann Carr, the chief marketing officer at Josten’s. If you have ever graduated from any school, you know Josten’s. It is one of a few companies that dominate the U.S. academic souvenir market. The Minneapolis-based company also peddles items such as yearbooks, letterman jackets and professional sports and military insignia. Hoever, it became a pioneer in the class rings business in 1906, shortly after launching in 1897.
Custom Class Ring History
The concept of the class ring is believed to have originated shortly before then, in 1835 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. This makes it an historically American tradition. At the time, students only had one class ring option for their graduating year. And in a trend that mirrors the jewelry industry as a whole, they’ve become increasingly customizable and personalized. That is where we enter in to the situation: the custom class ring.
This is your basic standard class ring style. We took an oval stone and surround with with the name. However, the items on the ring weren’t offered by Josten’s, so our customer found us. We use model airplane paint for the black. It isn’t permanent, but is far better than the oxidation used by others.
I’ve never owned a class ring, or even had the option of purchasing one presented to me that I can recall. But I’ve always thought they were kind of cool. And the romantic idea of holding onto an expensive piece of jewelry for your whole life that wasn’t marriage-related is a nice one. I would have even been happy to possess that level of pride in your high school or college that would have made me want a class ring. It seemed like a charming, iconic symbol of Americana akin to letterman jackets. However, for someone like me who went to a tiny school in a big city, only existed in movies and TV shows.
Class Rings Are Still Wildly Popular
That doesn’t change the fact that class rings are big business. However, as students have begun to care more about the latest shoe trend or tech device than traditional keepsakes, that business is experiencing a gradual decline. Certainly, a smaller percentage of graduates purchased class rings over the past few years than did 50 years ago. We don’t have specific numbers tracking the decline of class rings as its own category. However, according to 2011 CNN report found that sales of traditional yearbooks — a bigger, but analogous, business — had been declining at a rate of 4.7 percent per year. We expect the numbers for c lass rings to be similar.
This is another of our custom class ring designs for someone who didn’t want what Josten’s or Balfour had to offer. It held an 8x10mm ruby that was accented with a halo of diamonds. This one is also a little different as the school name goes perpendicularly around the lip of the bezel holding the center stone. We could make it with larger stones as well as this was for a female.
Adapting to this shift by providing more options is what’s kept Josten’s and other class jewelry purveyors in business. Balfour is the other major player in the class ring business. “Back in the mid-’80s, our class ring was one of the only pieces of jewelry I ever saw; but nowadays, young people are being presented with so many more options,” explains Jeff Peterson, Vice President, Marketing at Jostens. “The purchase intent for things like class rings or yearbooks has not gone down; what has changed, though, it’s the diversification of what those products are.”
In other words, graduates aren’t looking for the traditional, bulky look of a typical class ring anymore. However, they might still like the idea behind it. Rings with a more contemporary look and class jewelry outside the ring category have become increasingly popular. “We’ve got lots of interest in things like bracelets, lockets, necklaces, tags. It gives us confidence that the interest is still there. It’s just they’re more demanding in terms of how they want to remember it,” says Peterson. Carr notes that the company has been among the first to offer natural stones in class jewelry, and to sell retail-ready products in school bookstores. But the one size fits all solution and even Jostens’ attempt to offer customization fall flat. They are just too big to offer the Custom Class Ring capabilities that we can.
This is why, at Valeria Custom Jewelry, we offer a wide and vast array of possible custom class ring styles and designs. We can build Custom Class Ring designs from the ground up that show your personality and style. Josten’s and Balfour just can;t offer than yet. And if they did, the price would be far higher than ours for a comparable ring.
Click HERE to learn more about the custom jewelry process. Click HERE to see more of custom jewelry, or to contact us about a custom engagement ring. It can cost less than you think to have your very own custom class ring made just for you. Why hassle with the retail stores for boring and overpriced rings that don’t suit your taste and style?
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