Class Rings for graduation

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by OhioMom, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. OhioMom

    OhioMom New Member

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    My son is set to graduate in 2010 from USAFA and I would like some information about class rings for graduates ? How much do cadets typically spend ? Does everyone get one ? Any other suggestions for making the right choice ? Thank you - Proud mom - dowens7:wink:
     
  2. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Unless things have changed, your son will receive all the information he needs during the beginning of his 3rd year. The SA's contract companies like Herff Jones or Jostens to make the rings.

    Speaking from my experience at USNA, one side of the ring is the USNA crest and the other is the class crest. This is mandatory. What the Mid gets to order is the type of stone (if any), encrustations, interior engraving, etc. Also, what kind of metal to use (Yellow Gold, White Gold, Yellow alloy, etc.). They will be given a brochure with all their options.

    As for how much is spent, my ring ran about $1300, but that was a LONG time ago and gold has become scary expensive. A lot will depend on whether they choose a real stone or a man-made copy. Personally, my attitude was that I didn't slog my way through NAPS and USNA to have ANYTHING fake on my ring, so I went with a real amethyst, which is still their, albeit seriously beaten up (it's a soft stone). My Dad, God bless him, paid for my ring. That's the usual route, but by no means mandatory.

    I remember hearing stories of guys spending $10K+ on their rings because they ordered diamonds and such. Other guys went with plane-jane simplicity. Hell, some guys knocked a small piece off Bancroft Hall and had that polished and set in their rings.

    As for "Does everyone get one", I can recall only having met ONE person who didn't get a ring. While many do not wear them on a daily basis, NOT getting one is almost unheard of.

    As for me, I wear it every single day right next to my wedding band:

    [​IMG]

    Good luck. :smile:
     
  3. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

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    Z’s wife better watch that engagement ring reeeeeal close cause it could end up with me as it’s new owner with her missing a finger. LOL Ooooo, its pretty.

    I can only add what I know of KP’s rings. Jostens was the company who did theirs this year. I was told that they use the same special jewelers used to make the Super Bowl rings & the like for the Service Academy rings. While Plebes, they’d designed their class logo & motto that go onto one side of the rings. Most have a diamond on the side for the Polaris. The “normal” ring averages between 1000.00 to 4000.00 but as Z said, some can get pretty pricey. The kids at KP sometimes get a ruby & emerald on top of the ring instead of the diamonds, symbolizing port & starboard.

    I do know of a slight few who just ordered what they call a “battle ring”. This is the everyday ring they wear say to work in, saving the real ring for dress occasions. It looks just like the more expensive ring. I do not know if they offer this at AFA. I would assume they do? The company making the rings will come to the Academy & give out the initial paper work & catalog. At Josten’s, you can get online & “pre-design” the ring to see what it will look like. They have options of payment plans, usually done in thirds (Jan.-March – May).

    Example: 1200 bucks will get the diamond Polaris, two more diamonds on the top as you see on Z’s ring, white gold, a real stone blue star sapphire, engraving on the inside. For about 65.00 you can get a battle ring with a real black onyx, no diamonds (not sure of the material…. Sterling maybe? Probably has to be for 64.00?) Son ordered both. He really wanted an emerald until he found out what the price was on that little gem. Ka-ching Ka-ching!

    Hope this helps in some way. Perhaps someone from AFA will jump in here to let you know the specifics.
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    My "day" was a while before Z's my experience was the same as his. A couple of other things. We were able to pay for some/all of the cost of our rings out of our "accounts" (the money you're paid while at USNA but can't touch b/c it's used for uniforms, etc. -- you get back whatever's left in the account upon graduation). I can't recall how much we got to use but I think it was around $500. Anything spent over that came out of your pocket. In our day, the amount from our account was sufficient to cover the cost of a "basic" ring, which I think had a black onyx center stone -- so no one had to pay out of pocket just to get a ring.

    The class chooses a vendor (Josten's, Herff Jones, whatever) that is authorized to sell the ring itself. You can also use them for the stone or can take an "empty" ring and have your own stone put in by whomever you want. That's what I did b/c I wanted a certain diamond setting that the (then) MidStore jeweler (a private concession) did. My parents paid for it.

    I believe that USAFA cadets always choose white gold whereas USNA and USMA grads choose some form of yellow gold.

    There was one guy in our company who didn't want to buy a ring. Ironically, he had designed our class crest, so go figure. In any event, he was told that he could meet with the Commandant to explain why he didn't want a ring. Needless to say, he got one. Not sure that would happen today, but I still think the overwhelming majority of grads get rings.
     
  5. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I got mine back in 2000, cost around 1500 I think because I went with a "fake" stone. I don't know of anybody who did not get one. As Jamzmom pointed out above there is usually a "battle" ring that goes along with the real one. Mine was made of steel and was the one I wore everyday. I don't wear mine daily anymore because my fingers got fatter and I haven't had it resized. :biggrin:
     
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I can echo most of what has already been said. While I did get the battle ring, I don't wear it much, I wear my "real" ring. Originally I went with a satin finish gold ring with granite from the foundation of Hamilton Hall (or was it Chase Hall, I can't remember). Unfortunately, that stone was too soft and did not last, so i upgraded, bought a genuine dark saphire stone for the ring, which already had diamond dividers. With that stone, I believe the ring doubled in price, maybe around $2,000.00.

    As is true with the other service academies, one side was the Academy crest and the other was my class crest which we designed late in our 4/c year. Josten's made the ring, it was dipped in a bowl containing water from the Seven Seas, I got a kiss under a giant ring tunnel, and I had finally received my ring.

    With each scratch and ding it gets more character. It seems a little big at first, but you eventually get used to it. I wear it on my left hand, and when I get that wedding band, it will be arranged just the like the picture above from Z.


    I had a friend who went to VMI. You want to talk about HUGE, that ring had its own zip code.:eek:
     
  7. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Boy, you ain't kidding! :eek:

    When the boys in Europe fire up the Large Hadron Collider, they're gonna have to adjust for the gravitational pull of all those damned things. You could use them as cannonballs.

    They must be compensating for something. :rolleyes:
     
  8. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

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    :rofl: Uh. No comment other than the laugh. :yllol:
     
  9. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    USAFA Rings

    "I believe that USAFA cadets always choose white gold whereas USNA and USMA grads choose some form of yellow gold. " -- USNA1985

    The much heralded USAFA Class of 1959, the first class, chose "white gold" to be the ring for USAFA to set it apart from our rival brethren at USMA/USNA/USCGA/USMMA.

    The USAFA ring will ONLY be in a "white gold" or similar appearing metal. When gold became hugely expensive in the 1979/1980 period, I think it was Jostens that came up with "Lustrium" which is a non-precious metal that looks a lot like white gold. (Silver is NOT authorized.)

    Steve, USAFA 1983
    "Once upon a time the Class Ring co-chairman"
     
  10. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    wow, interesting info about AFA, never knew that.
     
  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I guess I had noticed many of them were in white...never knew all of them were, good info!
     
  12. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    A visitor to our church sat in the pew in front of us last week and I couldn't help but stare at this HUGE ring he had. It was USNA, class of 1980. I asked him about it on the way out. He had chosen the Marine option, and didn't want to worry about losing any stones, so his whole ring was gold. It looked like he was wearing a huge shiny boulder! Beautiful ring!
     
  13. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Yes, one of the options is to have no stone at all, and instead to have a smooth gold field on which can be engraved almost anything. It certainly looks different, and very nice.

    I have to send my ring in to get redone. After almost 20 years of continuous daily use, it'd pretty banged up and the stone is in bad shape. I have already purchased a new amethyst (my birthstone) to replace the one shown above. It will be tough letting the old one go. I'm going to ask for it back and hope for the best. Old friends are hard to part with. Amethyst is a pretty soft stone. Mine looks as if I've used it for target practice with a sandblaster. :frown:

    I will also be getting a second ring, which will be in rose gold with a blue topaz in it. The color contrast is simply breathtaking. My roomie got one in rose gold, but with an aquamarine. Beautiful! If I lose it, big deal; at least the original will be safe and sound.

    Oh, and I finally found a place that makes a wedding band nicer than the one above, which fits like the one above, but which doesn't cost a rediculous $600+ just because it's proprietary. :mad:
     
  14. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Z ...maybe you've been the target and that ring was your shield? :rocket: :jump1:
     
  15. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    LOL.

    Nah, it's just that shipboard life isn't all silk and velvet. Real life isn't either. :redface:
     
  16. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    As a proud wearer of a VMI ring - A few suggestions. I'm actually now wearing my 3rd ring in 30 years- I hope that the current proud possesors of the two predecessors of this ring in Korea and Syria are enjoying it and have developed some good stories of their days as a Keydet! (Those sorry BXXXXXXS!). Seriously- I would suggest not going overboard on your ring- this last iteration my wife got me a synthetic stone and 10k gold - it looks great and I don't feel like I'm having a heart attack when I ding it in a customer's factory! BTW I no longer take it off - my wife no longer sleeps on the ring side of the bed to avoid getting belted at night and they will have to hack off my finger to get this one!
     
  17. 178Nayr

    178Nayr New Member

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    Ring sizes

    What's the pennyweight for the different schools? Seems they keep getting bigger every year.
     
  18. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    I love watching some of my fellow VMI Keydets get into it with guys from Norwich. Both will swear up and down they have the bigger ring, until one side breaks down and asks what the pennyweight of the other guy's is, and they realize it's the same size. :)

    VMI and Norwich can get up to 44 pennyweight. I don't know about any of the other schools.

    Mine's a 36. I was all about the 44, but when I went to order it, I realized how ridiculous the 44 was on my hand. I've got pics of me next to the guys with 44s, and with the size of my hand, you can't even tell my ring is smaller (due to proportions). The 36 is my 44.

    VMI has different sizes to choose from (44, 40, 36, 28 and 7... but normally 7 pennyweight is reserved for dates and VMI Moms), but men and women alike choose whatever size they want. I'm curious... does anyone know if Norwich and The Citadel have different sizes for women?

    The reason I ask is that I have had USMA Alumnae from the first few co-ed classes look at my ring in awe, saying they had all wanted the same size as the men but they were not given the choice. On the other hand, I recently met a few cadets from USCGA, and one of the female cadets asked me, "Don't they have women's sizes?" I was really taken aback by that - almost didn't even know how to respond. I explained to her that I've only known two female cadets at VMI who got the size 28, and they were really tiny (one needed a height waiver to be admitted, standing at a whopping 4'11 3/4"). In general, we want the same ring as the men because we endure the same BS they do. She explained to me that if they didn't have women's sizes, very few of the females at USCGA would get the ring. I was astounded, but apparently their Ring Dance isn't emphasized nearly as much as it is at other military schools.

    In the end, it's just a piece of jewelry. It will always mean more to you and your classmates than to anyone else. Wear it with pride, but don't be a jackass... it doesn't make us any better than those who chose to attend a regular civilian college. But it does mean that society will expect more from us, because that ring will forever tie us to our schools.

    Jackie M. Briski
    VMI Class of 2009
     
  19. 178Nayr

    178Nayr New Member

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    Ring Sizes

    44! Holy cow where have I been? Thanks for the answer to the question I posted. I recently saw a class ring and couldn't believe it was being worn daily. When I received my 34 in 1992 at or Junior Ring Ceremony I thought it was big. I suspect the 30 or 26 would've been better suited to my finger. I am pretty sure Norwich has a different size ring available for females if they are so inclined.
     
  20. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Don't know about that...the Ring Dance was a pretty big deal while I was there, just like USNA at least. I guess the size of the ring isn't as big of a deal, but all of the federal service academies has nearly the same size rings. Another thing that might explain it is that women have been attending federal service academies for almost 20 years longer than VMI...maybe the women there in 20 years will get a smaller ring.

    I won't comment on what I think of Norwich. I will say that after meeting the father of a cadet from Norwich at a game we had to attend my freshman year, I have a bad taste in my mouth for that place.

    I can definitely say, without a doubt, that a VMI ring stands out, however going into work every day, I can't begin to count the rings I see on the fingers of military personnel. Most of them, I assume to be service academies.

    It's a nice reminder of where you came from, and an occasional conversation starter.
     

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