Diamonds / Gold

The History of the Super Bowl Ring

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There aren’t many pieces of jewelry that are more brag-worthy than a Super Bowl ring—and its design follows suit. But the Super Bowl ring wasn’t always as oversize and ostentatious as it is today. 

Packers ring
The Green Bay Packers Super Bowl ring with 1 ct. diamond

Championship rings began as a baseball tradition in the 1930s, but the Super Bowl ring didn’t enter the football arena until the 1950s, before the AFL and NFL merged. It wasn’t until 1967 that the first ring was awarded in the NFL to the Green Bay Packers (shown above), featuring a one-carat diamond—a stark contrast to the 2021 ring earned by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which has 15 carats of white diamonds (pictured at top). The 2021 Buccaneers ring also has a removable top (the first of its kind in NFL history), revealing a description of their achievement: “On February 7th 2021 history was made when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first team to win the Super Bowl at home in Raymond James Stadium.”

In the past, a few jewelers have worked on the rings, 35 of the 53 were created by Jostens and the others by Balfour and Tiffany & Co. The number of pieces for each winning team isn’t limited to its roster; depending on the organization’s size, anywhere from the low hundreds to nearly a thousand rings are produced each year. And due to superstition, the design process doesn’t start until after the game is over and the winner is official, so it takes a few months to produce the final product.

When it comes to value of the ring, it varies. A New England Patriots Super Bowl LI ring made for a family member of Tom Brady’s, for example, went for a record-breaking $344,927 at auction—and it had only 265 diamonds (compared to Brady’s 283) and was about 10% smaller than the quarterback’s ring. But one thing’s for certain: A championship memento doesn’t come cheap.

Top: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl ring in 14k yellow and white gold with 15 cts. t.w. white diamonds (photo credit: Kyle Zedaker/Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

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By: Annie Davidson

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