Synthetics in 1971 Jostens Ring?

A client brought me a Jostens college ring that she’s thinking of
selling for the gold. The ring is from 1971 and has never been worn.
Beautiful blue stone that appears to be faceted on the pavilion, the
table is cabochon. Not being a gemologist, I’m not sure what the
stone might be. Instead of recycling, she might be interested in
building a new piece, caveat being we can determine what the stone
is. Would Jostens use synthetic in 1971? The Jostens website offers

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Would Jostens use synthetic in 1971? 

yes. The cheap flame fusion synthetic corundum, if available in the
desired color. The others (blues, among them) were (and generally
still are, in class rings) similar flame fusion type synthetic

If the stone is liked by the customer, and they wish it, then set it
in something new. Just be sure he/she understands that these things
are in the five to ten dollar range of retail values, if even that…
Nothing special, and no different from what’s used in similar class
rings today.

Peter Rowe

Synthetic stones-often synth spinel- have been used in the
majority-almost all class rings for many many decades. Genuine stone
use in production-type class rings-Jostens, Herf Jones, R Johns, J
Lewis Small, and many many others- is nearly unheard of. Genuine
black onyx and mother-of-pearl (cheap stones) were used commonly
years ago, but not so much now. Many are ‘encrusted’ or treatments
applied on the back side- foilbacks, etched with designs,etc…
Monetarily, they are not worth remounting, but if a customer has
enough sentimental attachment, then why not? Over the years, I have
made many custom mountings for people with work service award pins
set with synthetic stones. When a factory worker gets a pin for an
award every five yrs, they will often end up with 30 or more synth
stones worth 50 cents each to me, but represent 30 years of blood
sweat and tears to the customer.


My Jostens class ring from around 1960 included a buff top synthetic
spinel (later changed out). The 1971 Jostens ring description
suggests that the stone is perhaps an aquamarine colored synthetic
spinel. Someone knowledgeable would have to look at it to be sure.

Dick Davies
Cutter in Virginia

they used doublet garnet in 1968.


My school ring was a 1968 ring. Yes, it was a synthetic stone.

Judy Shaw

Hi Folks…

I believe Josten’s has a lifetime guarantee…on the ring, but not
on the stone…Includes free resizing…

I got one when I graduated in 1976, UWM…They offered a black onyx
cab at the time…

Mid 90’s I contacted them for a resize, I figured why not get a new
stone…got the red syn spinel faceted…I wanted syn corundum,
figuring more durable, but wasn’t offered for my ring…

No charge for resizing (2 up), $25 for new stone, remount, new
blacking, etc…

Think I’ve worn it once since then…[G]…!

Gary W. Bourbonais
L’Hermite Aromatique
A.J.P. (GIA)

they used doublet garnet in 1968. 

Most didn’t, I think. I’ve not seen routine use of garnet/glass
doublets in commercially produced gold jewelry like class rings, in
much other than work made before world war 2. I’ve got a lot of the
stones themselves, from a manufacturing jewelry shop started in the
30s, that I keep around for replacements and restorations (anyone
need any, email me…). But frankly, of the various class rings I’ve
worked on over the last 35 years, including some made well before
world war 2, the only stones I’ve seen were the synthetic corundum
and spinel. If garnet/glass doublets were used as late as 68, I
suspect it was unusual, and the exception rather than the rule. That
makes sense if you consider that by then, most class ring
manufacturers were offering those rather generous guarantees, and
garnet/glass doublets are not sturdy enough to last very long in a
continuous heavy wear ring like most class rings. I have seen
garnet/glass doublets used more recently than pre-ww2 items, but
almost all of it was either costume quality work, or made outside
the U.S.

Peter Rowe