USMA Library Class Rings Collection

This digital exhibition features rings from the Class of 1837 - Class of 2012 with information about the officers they belonged to.

The early rings were used as seals, so the engravings were reversed. Class rings were purchased at private expense and were individually designed and made by hand. In 1879, cufflinks in the form of shoulder boards were selected. There were a few other exceptions, including two bracelets and a brooch, otherwise, rings were the norm. In most cases, the rings included an engraved seal or signet with the class motto and personal initials. In 1897, the design changed from individually designed engraved seals to purely ornamental stones selected by the owners. By 1898, the increasing size of graduating classes necessitated the change to using only the Academy motto, "Duty - Honor - Country," to be placed on the ring and in 1917 it became customary to place a class crest on one side of the ring shank and the crest of the Academy on the other side.