Virginia Military Institute Frequently Asked Questions

Please find the list of frequently asked questions below pertaining to our Prestige product line. The questions are grouped according to common subjects. If you do not find the answer you're looking for in any of the frequently asked questions, please contact 1.800.603.0925, and we can help with any unanswered questions you may have.

Gold

Q: Where does Jostens obtain their gold from?
A: Jostens is capable of recycling, or refining, approximately 70% of the gold needed for alloy production; the remaining 30% is acquired gold bullion from a domestic source.

Q: Does Jostens refine all of their own gold?
A: Jostens does have its own in-house refinery which refines all the high and middle grade gold scrap that is generated during jewelry fabrication. The low percentage gold bearing scrap is outsourced to various domestic vendors.

Q: What is the difference between yellow and white gold?
A: The basic distinction between the two alloys is that yellow gold alloy contains silver, while Jostens' white gold alloy contains nickel. The nickel gives the alloy its white color and also provides additional strength.

Q: What is the difference between 10K, 14K, and 18K gold?
A: Karat refers to the gold purity of the alloy. Pure gold is 24k; 10k is 10/24 pure or 41.66% gold. 14k is 14/24 pure or 58.33% gold. 18k is 18/24 pure or 75% gold.

Q: I have heard that 14K gold rings are softer than 10K gold rings. Is this true?
A: No. This is not the case. As a raw material 14K gold would be softer than 10K gold. However, the annealing process that all Academy rings go through allow us to achieve the same hardness on our 14K gold rings that we do on our 10K gold rings. So if you are ordering 14K gold rest assured that the ring is very durable and has been hardened to meet or exceed your Academy's specifications.

Q: Are 18K gold rings softer that 14K and 10K gold rings?
A: While we are able to anneal 14K gold rings to the same hardness as a 10K gold ring that is not the case with 18K gold since they are comprised of 75% pure gold. However, this does not mean that your 18K gold ring is not durable. Our 18K gold rings can be worn for many, many years without any problems, especially if you are accustomed to wearing and caring for gold jewelry. And remember, your Jostens ring is covered by a lifetime warranty if any issues were to arise. So, if it is 18K gold you desire go ahead and place your order with confidence.

Stones

Q: What is a genuine stone and where do they come from?
A: A gemstone is any mineral or other natural material that has the necessary beauty and durability for use as personal adornment. Gemstones can be found in the earth, or harvested from animals (pearls, ivory etc).

Q: How hard are genuine stones?
A: Gemstones vary in hardness. Jostens gemstone booklet list hardness of stones they offer.

Q: How much do genuine stones cost?
A: The cost of gemstones varies depending on supply, color, clarity and weight of the stone. Sapphires, Ruby's, Emerald's, and Diamonds are usually labeled as precious stones. Other gemstones are labeled as semi-precious. Much of this stems from availability.

Q: What is a synthetic stone?
A: A synthetic stone is a reproduction of the natural stone that has approximately the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as the genuine stone it represents. The material is 'grown' in furnaces. The material that is used in Jostens stones is grown in Switzerland and cut in Germany.

Q: How hard are synthetic stones?
A: Hardness of a synthetic stones varies by material. Jostens uses basically two different materials: Corundum and Spinel.
Hardness 9: Corundum, Garnet, Alexandrite, Ruby, Rose Zircon, Golden Sapphire, and Padparadscha.
Hardness 8: Spinel, Amethyst, Aquamarine, White Spinel, Shamrock Spinel, Peridot, Fire Blue Spinel, Topaz, Blue Zircon, Blue Spinel, and Tourmaline.

Q: What kind of stones can have a diamond tube set?
A: Tube sets, both round and square, are primarily set in synthetic stones due to the hardness level. We do not place tube sets in genuine stones with the exception of black onyx and hematite.

Q: What is a Genuine Stone Show?
A: A genuine stone show is an event that Jostens conducts at several of the academies. During this event we bring in hundreds of genuine stones that you may choose from to have set in your ring. This event allows you to compare stones side by side, place stones into rings with different finishes and metal qualities, and have your questions answered by one of our certified gemologist. If you find a stone that you like during this show you may reserve that stone and we will set it aside until your order day. There is no charge or fee to reserve a stone and you are not committed to purchasing that stone. During this event we do not show samples of synthetic stones, tube sets, or metal tops. These samples will be available during the ordering event.

Q: Why does Jostens plate the back of many of their genuine stones?
A: Jostens and our stone cutter in Europe recommend that the back of most genuine stones be plated with a highly reflective material. This will enhance the color of the stone and insure that the inside of your ring does not show through.

Q: Will Jostens guarantee their stones against breakage?
A: A genuine stone that is purchased from Jostens and set into your ring by Jostens is covered under the Jostens warranty.

Customer Supplied Stones

Q: Will an outside jeweler/company that sells me a genuine stone guarantee the stone against breakage?
A: While we cannot say what every jeweler would do in many cases there is no warranty or guarantee offered.

Q: Will the outside jeweler/company that sells me a genuine stone be able to provide the necessary service after the sale?
A: Please remember that any work performed by an outside jeweler/company will void the warranty you have on your ring with Jostens. If your ring is damaged by an outside jeweler/company they will not be able to produce you a new ring. Only Jostens has the tooling to manufacture a new class ring for you. All service work after the sale should be performed by Jostens.

Q: Will the outside jeweler/company that sells me a genuine stone be responsible if the stone cannot be set in the ring?
A: We cannot say for sure what each jeweler would do. We do know that each year we have a number of stones brought in to us that will not fit into the class ring. The engineering specifications are extremely rigid as to the size of stone that can be set in each ring. If the stone is too large it will not fit in the opening. If it is too small it will be difficult to set and ensure that the stone will stay in your ring. We do guarantee that JOSTENS genuine stones will be cut to exact standards and will fit in the opening of your ring.

Q: If I do supply my own stone what do the measurements need to be?
A: All stones must be to the following exact measurements. There cannot be any variance as these stones have a stone setting edge. One exception is the depth of the stone which can less than, but not more than, the measurements listed.

Full StonesDepth of Stone
Men's Large Ring 12x10 mm oval3.5 mm
Men's/Women's Medium Ring 10x8 mm oval3.0 mm
Women's Small Ring 8x6 mm oval2.5 mm

Center Stone in a ClusterDepth of Stone
Men's Large Ring 8x6 mm oval3.0 mm
Men's/Women's Medium Ring 7x5 mm oval2.5 mm
Women's Small Ring 5x3 mm oval2.0 mm

Q: If I decide to provide my own stone what will I need to do?
A: All customer supplied stones must be accompanied by a registered jewelers appraisal form. This appraisal form must include the following information:

  1. If the stone is a diamond it must state the carat size, cut, color, and clarity.
  2. If the stone is a full stone (12x10, 10x8, 8x6, 7x5, or 5x3) the measurements need to be on the appraisal form in millimeters and they need to be to the specifications listed above. Jostens will not accept any stones that are not to these exact specifications.
  3. All appraisals must include replacement price. If the stone is an heirloom stone we will need a replacement value. If the stone was purchased then we will need a copy of the sales receipt.
  4. All stones must be loose and free from any mounting. Stones will not be accepted if they are still in a mounting.
  5. Because of the extremely tight tolerances, personal stones less than 10 points will not accepted or set by Jostens.

Q: How long will it take before I am notified if my stone does not fit the ring I ordered?
A: All stones will be sent to the Jostens manufacturing facility for final approval. The approval process can take up to 90 days.

Finish

Q: What finishes are available on yellow gold rings?
A: In a yellow gold ring you can choose from three finishes. They are the satin (natural) finish, the medium antique finish, and the traditional dark antique finish.

Q: What finishes are available on white gold rings?
A: In a white gold ring there are two finishes from which you may choose. They are the satin (natural) finish and the traditional dark antique finish.

Q: Why would I want a sculptured palm side on my ring?
A: In some schools we offer the option of adding a sculptured palm side to your ring. This design that is added to the palm side of the ring helps to camouflage some of the nicks and scratches that will inevitably occur on this portion of your ring.

General

Q: Where does Jostens manufacture our rings?
A: All of your rings are manufactured in our facility in Denton, TX.

Q: When can I order my ring?
A: All events related to the process of ordering your ring will be set up each year with appropriate academy personnel and/or class ring committee. The dates for all of these events will be communicated to you through the appropriate channels in your school and through Jostens catalog materials.

Q: When will our rings be delivered?
A: The actual delivery date will vary from school to school. The date will depend on the traditions and events that your school or class has established. This information will be published your school, class committee, or ring committee.

Q: Can I order more than one ring?
A: What can be purchased will vary from school to school. In most cases each cadet/midshipman is allowed to purchase one gold ring for their use. Some schools allow for the purchase of one non precious metal "battle ring" in addition to the gold ring. Miniature rings and other accessory items may be purchased for personal use or as gifts for others. Information specific to your school will be provided during your class ring briefing and in the class ring catalog.

Warranty

Q: How long will it take to get my ring back if I send it in to be repaired or resized?
A: On average the turnaround time is between 4 to 5 weeks. This time may fluctuate depending on the time of year.

Q: Is there any charge to have my ring resized?
A: No. There is no charge to resize your ring as long as another jeweler has not worked on it.

Q: Is there any charge to clean and polish my ring?
A: No. There is not charge to clean and polish your ring as long as another jeweler has not worked on it.

Q: If my ring becomes worn over the years can Jostens remake it? If so will I have to pay full price for the replacement?
A: Yes. Jostens can remake your ring for a minimal remake fee. Contact our APS customer service department for more information.

Q: I have a 10K gold ring and decide that I now want 14K gold. Can I send my ring and have this change made?
A: Yes you can. There will be a remake fee (currently $60) plus you would have pay the difference between 10K and 14K gold based upon prices at that time.

Q: My finger is breaking out and it appears I am allergic to some of the metals in my ring. Is there anything Jostens can do?
A: Yes there is. First, please see your schools medical personnel to confirm this is the problem. Send a note from your doctor stating that you have an allergy along with your ring back to us. We will apply rhodium plating to the ring and that should resolve the problem.

Q: How do I send my ring back?
A: There are a couple of ways to do this. First, stop by and see us when we are there for the various ring events throughout the year. Our staff would be glad to assist you. Second, you can mail the ring in to our APS customer service department. We do suggest that you send the ring back using a method that can be easily tracked such as FedEx or UPS.

Q: How will Jostens send the ring back to me?
A: Normally the rings are shipped back via UPS second day air.

Alumni

Q: Can I order a crest pin of my class?
A: Yes. If Jostens produced the class rings for your class we will be able to produce a crest pin for you. We can also produce a variety of other class accessory jewelry items that we offer.

Q: Will Jostens still have the dies for my class in order to make me a new ring?
A: Yes. Jostens will keep all dies for all of the classes that we were contracted to produce rings for.

Q: Can I still order a miniature ring for my class?
A: Yes you can still order a miniature ring.

Q: How do I know if Jostens made my class ring?
A: Inside of your ring you should have a trademark. If your ring is a Jostens ring it will have either Jostens spelled out or a circle J.

Q: How long will it take to make me a new ring?
A: The manufacturing of a new ring will take between 6 to 8 weeks from the time you place your order.

Q: How do I find out what size my finger is?
A: Jostens recommends that you go to a local jeweler for sizing. You will need to add 1/2 size to whatever the jeweler sizes you at due to the fact the Academy rings are made as an oval and not round as you might find in a jewelry store.

Q: If my ring cannot be repaired and a new one has to be made will you reuse the gold in the current ring?
A: No. The old ring will be melted down and all new materials will be used to manufacture your new ring.