Of Rings and Things

The third year of college, similar to the junior year of high school, is unique in that generally, this is the year students are allowed to choose their class rings.

ND class rings, large and small

Four years ago, My Favorite Domer (AKA College Guy) refused to have a high school class ring, even when I offered to pick up the tab for it.

‘I’d only wear it two years at most,’ he said. ‘Why spend a couple of hundred dollars on something like that?’

Part of me agreed with him. It was a rather senseless-sounding expense.

But back in the day, most of us wore our high school rings into college, thereby extending the practicality of the purchase.

Different times, I guess.

In the spring semester of his sophomore year, I received a flyer with information on ordering College Guy’s class ring — a ring he wouldn’t be allowed to receive or wear until two weeks into his junior year — and I shared it with him over the phone.

‘Definitely!’ he answered to my question about his desire for one.

When he came home in May, we pored over the brochure and the Website, examining the options, weighing the costs of the different metals, finishes, stones and sizes. Soon he knew exactly what he wanted.

So over the summer we trekked to South Bend and placed the order. It was way more money than either of us wanted to spend, but how can one put a price tag on memories?

Recently he called and announced he’d gotten his ring. I won’t get to see it for a while, but I marvel at the tradition, the history:

  • Notre Dame class rings haven’t changed since they were first offered, some 80 years ago!
  • Rings are worn with the school name facing the owner until that person graduates; the ring is then “turned outward to face the world.”
  • Class rings feature shamrocks, Celtic font, a cross, the interlocking ND, the school seal, and the Dome.
  • Rings can be personalized with initials, name, and graduation year.

Do you still have your class ring, from high school or college? Does it hold special memories for you?

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6 thoughts on “Of Rings and Things

  1. I have my grandfathers Notre Dame ring…eventually for Cole but I lost mine the summer after my Jr year. I went water skiing, carefully put it in the glove compartment of the boat and it disappeared. I was upset and my parents offered to replace it but I was not that upset and said no thank you. I do have my class ring from college-Depaul and I love it.
    Notre Dame’s rings are beautiful and I love the tradition.

    • Awesome! I had both my high school and college (Ole Miss) class rings stolen in a home break in while I was living in Texas. I was heartbroken but never felt like replacing them — too much money for something that would just sit in a jewelry box. Lucky Cole, to get his great-grandad’s ND ring!! So sorry you lost your high school ring, though.

  2. I bought a class ring in high school, but not college. I love the ring because it is more dainty than many of the class rings, and it has hearts on the sides, along with my graduation year. It’s tucked away and hasn’t been worn in…well, let’s just leave at “many years”, okay? (On the plus side, I did find it several months back and tried it on – still fits on my finger. Ha! It’s the ONLY thing from high school that still fits me :))

    I’m glad your son got his ring. Now he has to make a special trip home to show you! All right, maybe Thanksgiving?

    • I loved the story of your high school class ring; makes me kinda sad mine got stolen! Isn’t it funny how things like that can fit several years later, when clothing doesn’t? Let’s just blame that on manufacturers changing their prototype sizes, shan’t we?? I’m going up for a football game, though, so I’ll see his ring then!

  3. No, I lost mine and I still mourn it a little. But I really enjoyed reading about your experience with your son, your shared enthusiasm for choosing the ring (which is so beautiful – anyone would be proud to wear it and represent the history and meaningfulness of that school). That is something you will never forget. A wonderful memory.

    • Thanks, Lynne. I was up there over the weekend and finally got to see it. I was blown away; the photos really don’t do it justice! It’s something he can treasure for a lifetime, along with his memories of college days.

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