Have you ever noticed that Super Bowl rings look like supersized, blinged-out versions of high school or college graduation rings? There’s a reason for this. The company that supplied 30 of the 46 rings awarded to the individuals of winning NFL teams is also the primary supplier of high school and college graduation rings in the US.
It’s not surprising that Jostens would be the primary provider of Super Bowl rings as it is the company most associated with supplying rings specifically for various achievements throughout one’s life. In addition to its graduation rings, the Minneapolis-based jewelry manufacturer creates rings for champions of the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, NASCAR and various NCAA sports champions. It also provides rings that recognize achievement in law enforcement and the military, as well as professional organizations.
The winner of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos Sunday (2013 NFL Champions) will field design pitches from Jostens and other jewelry companies. Then team officials will decide who will make the rings.
The other well-known Super Bowl ring supplier is Tiffany & Co. (which also creates the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy presented after the game to the winning team). Their rings include the 2010 Super Bowl winner, New Orleans Saints, and the 2008 winner, New York Giants.
No matter which company makes the ring the overall design pattern is about the same: big and bold with yellow or white gold, diamonds and usually other gems. Other consistent details include the team name, team logo, and the Super Bowl number in Roman numerals. Paved diamonds have been popular as of late. Some rings have the names of individual players on them.
The most recent ring, awarded to the Baltimore Ravens for winning Super Bowl XLVII, may provide some clues as to the look of the next ring.
Designed by Jostens, the top of the white-gold ring reads “World Champions,” set in a stadium-style top, enhanced with 129 round brilliant cut diamonds. The Baltimore Ravens logo is outlined in the ring’s center with 40 round brilliant cut diamonds atop an amethyst stone with the Baltimore “B” in yellow gold with the beak of the Raven in white gold. The eye of the bird is made of red enamel. Behind the logo are two championship trophies set with 32 round brilliant cut diamonds. The ring is topped with two marquise diamonds that represent the franchise’s two world championship titles.
It’s not just the winning team that receives rings. The losing team will be awarded rings as will the referees.
The NFL pays for the cost of 70 rings to the winning team, at about $5,000 apiece, depending on the cost of gold and diamonds at the time. The winning team can pretty much present rings to whomever they choose, but must pay for rings themselves outside the 70-ring limit. It’s unknown whether the teams have the option of paying for extra bling if it goes above the $5,000 price.
The $5,000 price tag doesn’t buy a lot these days in terms of precious metals and gems, as well as for quality design. One way to save is to use lower-karat gold, which is apparently what has been done, according to the 10 Super Bowl rings up for sale on the Goldin Auctions online auction site. The karat-weight of several rings are listed as 10k, according to the West Berlin, NJ-based sports collectibles and auction company.
But despite the gold weight, the value of owning a Super Bowl ring can be significant. The current bids for Super Bowl rings on its online auction site start at $4,000 and peak at $36,000 for the 2014 Super Ring owned by former Ravens running back Damien Berry, who didn’t play that season but received a ring anyway.