Now that’s a ring!
Class rings, college rings, and sports rings are pretty much the same thing; one massive ring with one massive stone in the center.
The name, year, institution, colors, mascots and teams are usually displayed on the sides of these rings.
They make a ring for everything:
Championships, alumni, homeschool, armed forces, pilots, freedom rings, Boy Scouts of America, motorsports, fantasy sports, fire and law enforcement rings, Harley Davidson, Corvette rings and even Le Cordon Bleu rings.
But, class rings or not, here’s the real question:
Can they be sized?
You see, most people wear their rings for a while then put them away. That’s when they realize years later they don’t fit anymore (does anything?) They’ll bring the rings into the jewelry store to get them sized and that’s when the problem begins…
Class rings cannot be sized… easily!
One of the biggest reasons why they can’t be sized is this:
Most class rings are not classic metals like white gold or yellow gold. Most metals in class rings are odd creations that are gold-or-silver-look-alike metals.
Here is a list of the most popular class ring manufacturers and the metals they offer. See how many of the metals you recognize.
Class ring metals
Jostens – 10kt yellow gold, 14kt yellow gold, 18kt yellow gold, yellow lustrium, white lustrium, platinum white gold, silver elite with platinum, dualcast yellow, dualcast white.
Art Carved – 10kt yellow gold, 14kt yellow gold, 18kt yellow gold, golden siladium, silver select with platinum, 10kt white gold, 14kt white gold, siladium.
Balfour – Celestrium, Balfour premium silver, 10kt yellow gold, 14kt yellow gold, 18kt yellow gold, Balfour imperium, 10kt white gold, 14kt white gold, 18kt white gold.
Gold Lance – 10kt white gold, 14kt white gold, 18kt white gold, 10kt yellow gold, 14kt yellow gold, 18kt yellow gold, yellow lazon, white lazon.
Celestrium, Lustrium, Siladium???
See, I told you some of the metals were odd: Lazon, celestrium, lustrium, siladium??? (most of these involve stainless steel)
The good thing is, these metals serve their purpose well. They are all great substitutes for gold. They look like gold, but are way cheaper and still as durable, if not more durable than gold.
These metals are good for the customer, but not good for the jeweler.
Sizings a pain.
Jewelers will have a very hard time sizing class rings. They don’t carry these types of odd metals. So even if they could size them, it probably wouldn’t solder properly. You would probably see a big discoloration in the metal or a splicing mark in the band.
These metals can’t take heat either
The problems don’t stop there. Some of these class ring metals don’t take heat very well. Their melting points are different than gold. Applying the wrong temperature to them could cause them to break, crack or melt. Not a great scenario.
The easiest class rings to size are going to be the more expensive rings like solid 10kt, 14kt and 18kt yellow and white golds. Jewelers deal with these metals on a daily basis and will have no problems sizing them… But…
Gemstones are also an issue.
Most stones in class rings are not genuine stones. They are man-made, synthetic, simulated birthstone, CZ gems that can’t take the heat from a torch. So when sizing class rings great care must be taken not to subject the stone to direct heat. Too much heat can shatter your stone. When this happens it’s nearly impossible to replace the stone without sending it back to the original manufacturer.
Antiquing is the next big issue.
Antiquing is the black inlay that fills the grooves of your class ring (see picture). This inlay looks nice because it makes the names and dates stand out, but overtime this antiquing will fade or come out.
And sizing class rings will actually remove this black antiquing as well. Any cleanings or polishings will also cause it to come loose or dissolve. Once this black inlay is removed it will never look the same. Jewelers can paint new black inlay (called black dye resin) into the grooves, but it’s not the desired look. It will look too black, like paint. Not cool.
So if your antiquing comes out or fades, your best bet is to have the manufacturer re-apply the antiquing. Most will do it for free, or for a slight fee.
How do you get a class ring sized?
Send it back to the manufacturer.
That’s what I advise. Every class ring company that I know of; Jostens, Art Carved, Gold Lance, Balfour, will give you at least 2 free sizes up or down. That’s a great thing. They’ll size it for free. Some of them will even do all sizings for free for a lifetime. Just check the limited lifetime warranty that came with your ring, or check with the manufacturer or a dealer to see what their actual guidelines are.
Cleaning and polishing:
Every class ring company that I’ve dealt with, Jostens, Art Carved, Gold Lance, and Balfour, will clean and polish all of their rings for free forever.
Class ring companies are also great with gemstone replacement. They will replace any damaged or broken stone as long as it’s simulated (synthetic) birthstone or CZ for free. Genuine gems or diamonds are not covered under this plan. The price to have genuine stones replaced will be quoted once the company receives your ring and inspects it.
It’s important that you know that every class ring company has a warranty. They call these limited lifetime warranties because they cover some things for free and other things they don’t. Some things, like changing your graduation date, will have a small fee (usually under $100). Do note: all class ring companies state that if you have any work done whatsoever by any other jeweler, it will void your warranty. Any work: polishings, cleanings, sizings, re-antiquing… It will make your warranty useless and void.
You’ve been warned.
So don’t have anyone except the original class ring company work on your ring.
Your better off to send your class ring back to the manufacturer for anything it needs. It’s the smart thing to do. They made your ring. They can fix your ring.
The only reason I would ever have a local jeweler work on your ring is if the original manufacturer is no longer in business. And even then, it’s still a pretty big risk…
Who knows what metal it is?
Who knows how the stone will hold up to heat?
It’s a chance you take.
Hopefully if your class ring needs sized, the company is still in existence (most are). That’s the starting point. Contact the company first. Let them deal with their own product. It could take up to 6 weeks to get it fixed, but I look at it this way; You won’t have to worry about your ring… It’s in good hands.
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