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Naval Academy Rings

The Naval Academy ring is arguably the most well-known ring of all institutions of higher learning.  Hollywood is aware of the mystique that surrounds the USNA ring includes gratuitous “ring shots” whenever the theme of the movie includes an Academy Graduate.

Designing the Ring Crest 

During the Plebe year, a Class Ring/Crest Committee is formed. Each class designs its own ring crest. This tradition began sometime in the mid to late 1800’s and continues today.

These crests are on display and can be observed in the Preble Hall Museum. The ring company chosen to produce the rings usually also makes charms, necklaces, pins and tie bars which many purchase as gifts for mothers, fathers, girlfriends etc.

Ordering Rings 

At the end of the 3/C year, orders are taken for  individual rings. Basic rings are the same with the class crest on one side and the academy seal on the other. Mids personalize their rings by ordering any stone they like, everything from gold plugs to diamonds.   Cost of rings vary with an average around $1,000 - $2,000.

Parents may pass on a heirloom stones to be placed in the class ring. The rings are delivered for a week long fitting period, just before 2/C Spring Break. After this fitting period, 2/C are not permitted to wear their rings until  Ring Dance. If a Firstie catches a 2/C wearing it early, the 2/C owes him a beer. 

Ring Dance 

Ring Dance is the most impressive and symbolic dance at the Academy. It is held at the beginning of Commissioning Week. A female date wears her Midshipman’s ring tied around her neck on a blue and gold ribbon, a male date may wear his Midshipman’s ring on a ribbon pinned to his lapel, on his finger or in his pocket. 

After walking through a giant replica of the class ring, the date ‘christens’ the ring in a binnacle containing the Waters of the Seven Seas (see the list below). The date then places the ring on the Mid’s finger, and gives the Mid a congratulatory kiss. The evening consists of dinner, dancing and closes with a spectacular fireworks display over the Severn.

The Atlantic Ocean
The Pacific Ocean
The Arctic Ocean
The Antarctic Ocean
The Indian Ocean
The Caribbean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea
Water melted from ice, which fell as snow in the
Antarctic, the year Christ was born,
Water was flown in space by graduates of the
Naval Academy, and
Water was taken from the Severn River to remind us of our four years spent together by the Bay where the Severn joins the sea.

As a Mid, the ring is worn with the seal inside, but after graduation the ring is turned with the crest inside and the seal outside, so everyone can read “The United States Naval Academy.”