Don’t waste money buying class rings


Bryana Ayala

Glistening Hands show off gems embedded in class rings. One ring was from 1977 and the other was from 1964.

During an assembly on Oct. 18, the sophomore class was introduced to their class rings. I, as well as some others, was unimpressed with the display of the jewelry.

When I first stepped into the auditorium and saw the giant blue gem projected onto the screen, I froze. At first I was confused and wondered what the reasoning behind getting the entire sophomore class together was. Then I spotted the ‘2025’ embedded on the ring, and I realized rings were being advertised as another ‘souvenir’ for our graduating year. I moved around the auditorium until I got a seat next to one of my friends, and we began whispering curiosities and complaints to one another.  One of Jostens representatives, Jeff Bobey, enlightened the crowd about how fascinating and great the class rings were. He was set out to make these pieces of metal marketable to us in the 40 minutes he had. Unfortunately for him, his talking overlapped with the giggling and whispering of the students around me who continued pointing out how ridiculous the concept was. 

It might have been due to my spot in the auditorium, but I noticed a lot of negative feedback from the rings. Although people have still reacted positively, it isn’t as common for me to hear. I have heard conversations between students, teachers and parents all talking about the pros and cons of buying their own rings. When it comes to my own opinion, it’s quite a waste of money. I do not personally like the rings for a few reasons, and I see no purpose for them. To me they’re just overpriced, useless and unappealing pieces of metal.

One of my main issues I have is the website itself. It’s very unclear and hard to use. When I was showing off, and complaining, about the rings to my parents, I was having a difficult time using the website. I tried filtering for my school, which then showcased about 36 other schools with similar; if not exact names to Altoona. The only reason why I didn’t press the wrong school was because of the two little letters ‘Pa’ sandwiched between more text. As I was talking to one of my teachers about the website, he got on it himself and faced the exact same issue. It’s a bit difficult shopping for AAHS specific merchandise when a person is shopping for a school in Wisconsin instead. People who aren’t familiar with how to use the website are going to be confused and have trouble navigating it. The website also just doesn’t work for me at times. When I was filtering through the rings to see the lowest and highest prices, nothing was working right. After sorting them, I was shown rings listed for $450 then $350 and then $400 to $500. This can be very frustrating when trying to find low priced options. Sometimes that is all people can afford. Adding on more difficulty to even finding the rings just makes the product feel as if they aren’t worth all the trouble. 

When the topic of price came up during the presentation I was shocked. I personally don’t shop for jewelry, and I’m not an avid jewelry wearer besides earrings or necklaces once in a while. Because of my lack of knowledge on rings, I wasn’t sure if $300 for a class ring was expensive or not. I did ask around, and the main answer I got was ‘it depends’. When looking at the cheapest option, a white Lustrium ring, the conclusion was it’s not worth it. Lustrium is simply an alloy of nickel and chromium, two non-precious metals. The metal should not be worth so much even with the good qualities it does have. Of course, the stones and carvings do up the price. When accounting for everything $300 does seem somewhat justifiable, but the rings can go up to $600 which seems inexplicably high for a class ring. Some people might also not be able to afford that much of a cost even with a payment plan at $37.50 a month. It might seem like a low cost to some people, but almost $40 a month can be vital to a household. 

With an object like a ring, it’s undeniable it’s most likely going to get lost at some point. There is a free four year protection plan that goes with every ring or the person has an option of buying a ten year plan for $20. When looking into the actual plan, it becomes clear there’s a few flaws with it. Jostens states they will “replace your Jewelry with the same or similar design at a reduced cost,” meaning that the person will still have to pay. They also explain that the person gets a one-time opportunity to replace the ring with the standard protection plan. The extended protection plan only adds one additional opportunity to replace the ring if it gets lost again.

When I was looking through the website, I wasn’t impressed with any of the designs. Most of the rings are some type of variation of a big gem slapped onto a ring band with two carvings. They are obnoxiously big in most cases, and they just don’t look all that appealing. The men’s’ rings are chunky and boxy while the women’s’ rings are too thin to even put any designs on them. Most of the carvings are generic logos of the clubs and activities with little to no actual uniqueness. The gems and metals can make a nice combination of colors, but that’s about the only thing I see as visually appealing. 

The main purpose of the rings is to represent a person’s high school experience in some way, but they don’t. Most rings will only get two carvings: the name of the wearer and the person’s year of graduation. The logos are the same for everyone, and they look plain or generic. They become insignificant to the person wearing it with time and aren’t useful. The rings might be customizable, but they aren’t personal. There is an actual story behind everyone’s high school experience that a small ring of metal can’t convey.

A better alternative for a high school commemoration could be a yearbook. Jostens says their rings are meant to represent stories, but yearbooks do a better job. Yearbooks are full of photos throughout the year with writing to go with them. There are stories written about all of the different people at the school. People can look back decades after their graduation and relive their experiences through the yearbook. Class rings just can’t execute the same feeling. Yearbooks also cost much less than the class rings do. The rings listed on the Jostens website are at least $300,while the yearbook is currently priced at $80 and will only go up to $90 after Jan. 3. Why not spend money on something that will actually showcase the high school experience rather than a ring with two small designs carved into it?

Class rings will only be a waste of money that will turn into regret in the future. They are useless in actually being personalized to the wearer, and they are costly for no real reason. Before buying a class ring, question if it will be a valuable purchase or will just end up collecting dust on a bedside table.