Aggie Ring 1890

An Aggie Ring from 1890, donated by William Dilworth Anderson.

128 years ago, a tradition began. Little was it known that it would be one of the most prominent symbols of Texas A&M — the Aggie Ring.

The first ring was made in 1889. In the early years, each class would design their own ring, leading to drastic, or sometimes minor, changes. It was not until the 1930s that the look of the Aggie Ring began to resemble what it looks like today.

Although the design has differed over the years, the essence behind the ring remains unchanged, according to Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of The Association of Former Students.

“I think the meaning has stayed the same,” Greenwade said. “It’s a visible representation of our connection to Texas A&M, and it is something that we all wear proudly because we are all proud to be connected to the university. I think the cadets in 1889 felt that same passion and loyalty to Texas A&M that students today feel.”

Today, the design consists of a five point star, a rifle, a canon, a saber and an eagle. However, the ring from 1889 to the early 1900s would be unrecognizable to Aggies today. These ring have a square black face engraved with the letters TAMC, along with the class year split up on the both sides.

In 1930, the overall design changed drastically, placing a red stone in the middle of the ring. The controversy created by this arrangements prompted then university president Thomas Walton to standardize the ring in 1933.

After the standardization, very few changes have occurred. In 1967, the manner in which the name of the university appeared changed, reading “Texas A&M University” to reflect the official name change, and in 1998 the ring began to be manufactured in one piece. The differences in the rings design, while maintaining the tradition of the school, is similar to the school’s overall history, according to Greenwade.

“I often tell people that the Aggie Ring is like Texas A&M itself,”Greenwade said. “Whereas the physical presence may have had changes over the years, but the heart and the meaning of what truly matter has stayed the same.”

Now there are four choices of material: Antique, natural finish, white gold and palera, the last of which is platinum and silver. According to The Association of Former Students, out of the 2,800 rings ordered for the Nov. 17 ring day, 2,059 are natural finish, 608 are antique, 36 are Palera and eight are white gold.

“It is a symbol of our unity,” Greenwade said. “It is a symbol of our values and it’s something we can all share. It’s a very visible reminder that we wear daily, to Texas A&M and the Aggie Network.”

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