Class rings lose significance and meaning

As sophomores finish turning in class ring order forms, students might wonder why they are spending so much money on a small piece of jewelry.  Hardly any students have class rings, and many who own them have lost them or simply do not wear them anymore.

Back in the good old days, most high school students bought class rings.  Boyfriends gave their class ring and letterman jackets to their girlfriends, and girlfriends gave their class rings to their boyfriends, who wore them on a string around their necks.  The rings and jackets were signs that a couple was ‘going steady,’ or dating for a long time.

Times have changed.  Now, boyfriends give their girlfriends their hoodies to wear.  While letterman jackets have been replaced, class rings have not.  This might be due to the outrageous prices the rings cost.  Years ago, class rings were priced much cheaper. According to Religion teacher Sam Roflow, his class ring from Herff Jones cost $32 when he was a McNicholas student in 1974. Now, it is impossible to buy a class ring for under $200.

McNicholas students order class rings through the company Herff Jones.  The least expensive ring that either a male or female student could purchase from this company’s catalogue is $209.95. The most expensive ring that a male student could buy is $804.95, while the most expensive ring a female could buy is $675.95.  These prices include the base ring, birthstone, and school mascot embellishment, but do not include premium features such as signature engravings and additional embellishments.

In addition to the outlandish prices for the base ring, there is an intimidating and overwhelming number of options for color, stone, engravings, and embellishments.  In fact, on the front cover of the ring design catalogue, it is advertised that there are “1000s of design possibilities.”

Styles change, and maybe class rings aren’t as timeless as high school students once thought.  Senior Michelle Cabell bought a class ring during her sophomore year but doesn’t wear it anymore.  “It’s not ‘in,’” she reasoned.

On the other hand, some students still find meaning in their rings and wear them daily. “Mine has my birthstone on it and a dancer decal,” junior Kayla Woods said. “I think it’s really pretty and cute, and it will remind me of dance team and those will be some of my greatest memories from high school.”

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