Class Jewelry: Sentiment or Waste?

Remember high school without ‘breaking the bank’

Benton Dreasher

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Each year sophomores are offered the opportunity to memorialize their high school experience through the purchase of a class ring. While some may enjoy reminiscing about their high school memories and relationships through a simple piece of jewelry, it seems as though this is just a waste of money. There are better alternatives to class jewelry that are not a waste of money, and can overall provide better ways to capture the memory. Furthermore, students should utilize other means such as technology, a journal, diary and photo journals.      

Jostens, the manufacturer that is primarily known for producing yearbooks, but also is responsible for producing class jewelry, advertises to “celebrate your journey with Jostens.” Jostens sells a wide variety of jewelry such as rings, tags, lockets and bracelets. Customers are allowed to personalize their purchases by choosing the stone, the material of the band, and an engraving.

In the past decade, there has been a substantial decline in the purchases of class jewelry. According to Josten’s representative Dale Komro, “Two decades ago as many as 65 percent of sophomores purchased the jewelry. It’s been on a downtrend. That number now hovers between 20-30 percent of students.” One might say that this trend is occurring due to the steep price point of the accessories. For example, the least expensive ring Jostens offers is just under $200, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 43 percent of working families don’t have enough money to meet basic needs, meaning the price for even the cheapest ring is far too expensive for some families nowadays to afford.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 43 percent of students live in low-income families, which leads to the question: How can students from low-income families afford to purchase these expensive class mementos? In this day in age, when almost every student has a smartphone that is capable of capturing photos, videos, or any number of journaling methods.

Class jewelry is a senseless purchase and is far too expensive of an investment just for a simple memento because there are much more costly alternatives. With the advent of smartphones in the recent decade, something that previous decades did not have, it has become far more accessible to document events in your life, whether that be through photos or videos. If sentiment is something you value, and you do not want to break the bank on an unnecessary item, utilize what you already have and class jewelry will be obsolete.