class rings

today we had a salesman come around and try to sell us class rings. my immediate thought was that I wouldn't be buying one, not much of a jewelry/fondly remember my high-school years person. the salesman, being fairly good, wooed into considering it. Upon searching the catalogue, I found that the vast majority of the rings were fairly expensive, in the range of two to six hundred dollars. You could choose what metal you wanted your ring to be made of (white lustrium, gold lustrium, platinum, white gold, gold). now, lustrium had a little ® next to it, so I decided to do some digging. One thing lead to another, and this is what I have:
The rings at our school are provided by Jostens. they provide class rings to thousands of schools throughout the country. because they no doubt serve millions of students, you know that your ring is customized and unique to you. they have five plants just to handle their printing (though they do some custom printing). they where founded in the 1800's and have been making rings for over 80 years. I then dug around Jostens trying to see what kind of corporation they where like. this is in no way exhaustive, and I didn't even look at environmental track record, but they make all of their products in the U.S, and they have a fairly good track record as far as compliance with labour laws are concerned.
anyway, about Lustrium. I found that Lustrium is an alloy of nickel and Chromium, and a small amount of gold if it is of the yellow variety. I looked up the going price of nickel these days, and If I did my calculations correctly (supposing that each ring is 24 pennyweights worth of metal), then the metal in each $70 ring costs about two cents. that might be wrong, and it doesn't count "craftsmanship", but that seems like a good profit margin to me. nickel allergy is also somewhat common in my family (maternal), so that seamed like a bad idea.
final thought, most all of the rings available are gaudy in my opinion. they are either huge, and overly crammed with information (11 letters for the mascot, a picture of a mascot, highsschool name including the word High-school, a four digit graduation year and another symbol of your choice (such as debate or basketball) does not go on a ring without looking cramped. If they stuck it in as a QR code, that would be cool, but in plain-text, not so much) for most of the male models, or tiny and lacy for some of the female ones. there were very few plain metal bands with some letters in them.

bottom line, still not buying a ring. I might try to make my own though, that could be a fun project.

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