Ring prices make tradition a trade-off
FILE PHOTO/The Daily Campus
With the end of school approaching, another senior class will be graduating, and, ostensibly, buying their class rings.
Senior class rings at the University of Connecticut are sold by and bought from Jostens, a powerful ring and graduation apparel dealership based in Bloomington, Minn. The company is so powerful, in fact, that only three days ago, the Federal Trade Commission rejected their $486 million buy-out of American Achievement Group Holding Corp, a competitor in their field.
"A combination of two of the three leading manufacturers would have led to higher prices and lower quality for the students and their parents who purchase these rings," read a press release by the FTC.
With that said, UConn students can buy rings with prices ranging from $239 to $1,000. The least expensive is alloy, which is a combination of nickel and chromium. A touch more expensive is sterling silver. A level up from that is a material made of a combination of copper, gold and silver. The most expensive rings are gold, which consist of 10, 14, or 18 karats. With an increase in karats comes an increase in the purity of gold, and an increase in price.
Students can purchase rings at graduation fairs, at booths set up in places like the school bookstore or can order them online. While class rings are oftentimes purchased via the online option, Jostens representative Janine Malicki thinks this foolhardy. She explained that when Jostens is set up on campus, "we give great deals and add packages that aren't offered online."
But why, exactly, do students buy, or refrain from buying, senior class rings? Eighth-semester Natural Resources major Nico Garcia said that he originally was not going to buy a ring, but he quickly changed his mind upon UConn's national championship triumphs.
"I honestly think I'm going to get one just because it's the same class as Shabazz," Garcia said.
Eighth-semester theater major Marisa Desa had a differing opinion.
"I am not going to be getting a senior class ring, because I just really don't like them," Desa said. "I think they're pretty ugly actually. Plus, they are so expensive!"
Jostens representative Malicki proposed a contrary viewpoint.
"I think a student would buy a class ring because they spent four years at the college and they'd like to represent their hard work and their efforts," Malicki said. "From my perspective, I don't think students realize they can purchase a really nice ring for under $500."
Just before speaking with Malicki, a female student had a long interaction with the Jostens employee. She approached the table tentatively, admitting that she did not plan on buying a class ring. Once she started looking through the catalogue and examining the rings though, she found the exact design and price that she wanted. She thanked Malicki profusely for her help after making the purchase. That is when Malicki said that she believed students usually do want to buy class rings, but the toughest part is making that first step towards the booth.
The "Spring Ring Event" continues today, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the UConn Co-op.
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