The first class rings were worn by military cadets at West Point and, until 1869, the cadets designed their own rings. The cadets in the class of 1836 must have lacked imagination, or just didn’t want to be thought of as trend-followers, because there was no class ring that year. (Can you call it a trend when it had only been done one year?)
Excerpt from a West Point Ring Ceremony
Students wear a class ring beginning in their senior year of high school or college. During the senior year, you wear it on the ring finger of the right hand with the crest/insignia should be facing you (upright when you hold your hand in front of you). This is supposed to inspire you and remind you of your goal to graduate.
After graduation you turn the ring to face the other direction to show you are ready to face the world, or to show pride in your school, or because graduation ceremonies are dull (except for the few seconds when they read your name) and you need to give the students something to do at the end so they won’t fall asleep.
I don’t know how people are supposed to see that the crest is facing them, unless you hold your hand out like you’re expecting them to kiss your ring. This is only effective if you are the Pope or a Mafia Don.
Video from the Oklahoma State University Alumni that shows how a class ring is made
Only about 1/3 of students choose to get a class ring. Those who do may do so to show pride in their school. Or because it’s senior year and they’ve suddenly realized that their major will not provide them with many job opportunities and it’s nice to have a bit of parent-bought pawnable gold.
Once upon a time, when gold prices were only a fraction of what they are now, a boy would ask a girl to go steady (to date him exclusively) and give her his class ring to wear. The girl would wrap string or yarn around the palm-side of the ring to make it fit her finger. If she also had a class ring, she might give it to the boy to wear on a chain around his neck.
Dick Armstrong: I Want to Go Steady With You
Do you have, or plan to have a class ring? For high school or college or both? If you designed your own ring, leave a comment about symbols you had the jeweler put on it and why.