It’s called “Super” for a reason. Great team rivalries, stunning half-time shows, award-winning commercials, and who could forget the blinding rings and trophies? There are so many moving parts to the annual Super Bowl championship game and countless things to appreciate, whether you are a football fan or not.
One of those things on our minds more so than the others this time of year, are the mesmerizing Super Bowl rings. Jerry Rice, former 49ers wide receiver and three-time Super Bowl winner, once said, “the ring really signifies why we play the game.” As jewelry appraisers, we couldn’t agree more.
The first Super Bowl ring was designed and produced in 1967, for the Green Bay Packers, and featured only one diamond. Since the sparkling tradition has carried on, we have seen the bling evolve to include blue stones and as many as 283 diamonds in a single ring.
That’s right, the New England Patriots Super Bowl LI ring features 283 diamonds, as a representation of their comeback from being down 28-3 in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons, during the 2017 matchup. Athletes are trained to “go big or go home” – and rest assured, this is taken seriously far beyond the stadium.
Who Receives a Super Bowl Ring?
The sterling silver Vince Lombardi Trophy, which is designed by Tiffany & Company, is awarded to the winning team as a whole. To further symbolize their victory, each player and member of the winning team also receive a Super Bowl ring, designed uniquely to tell the story of the team’s victory each year.
A player’s friends and family can also receive their own version of the ring if authorized by the player. Though these designs are usually made smaller and with fewer diamonds, they are still worth a fortune. In fact, in 2018, a family version of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl LI ring sold in auction for $344,927. This is the highest price that has ever been paid of a Super Bowl ring on record.
What Determines Their Worth?
Like any other piece of jewelry, the weight, amount and type of gemstones determine its physical value. The designer of the piece adds to this as well, but there are more factors that go into determining what it is worth overall.
The recipient, for example, is highly regarded. Any player who is considered to be an “MVP” or “GOAT” adds value to the rings they wear, simply because of their fame and how they are portrayed by the public, as well as the National Football League.
If a contender in the game is considered an underdog, and they take the title of Super Bowl Champion, this brings value because of the rareness of the occasion. Anything else that causes the tournament to be significantly memorable, like a team winning by one point, or an unlikely comeback from a rough start, can potentially raise the value of the championship ring that is produced.
Who Designs Super Bowl Rings?
Believe it or not, major jewelers aren’t the main designers of Super Bowl rings. The majority of the time, they are produced by manufacturers such as Jostens and Balfour, who are prepared to present several designs to the champions after the win.
Tiffany & Company has designed and produced several Super Bowl Rings for teams including the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints.
You can see a gallery of Super Bowl rings on nfl.com.