CENTRAL TEXAS — Kathryn Greenwade doesn't remember a time that the Aggie Ring wasn't a part of her life. Her father and grandfather are both Aggies and she earned her ring in 1987.
"It was an exciting time because it's something you've worked hard for. It's like following in the line of so many great people and knowing that you now are representing Texas A&M to the world," said Greenwade the Vice President of the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M.
Every Aggie ring these days is born in Austin at the Balfour factory. A trusted partner since 1948 and the subject of a documentary underway right now from the Association of Former Students.
"They produce Super Bowl rings, World Series rings, but the most coveted assignment is to work on the Aggie Ring line," said Greenwade.
Each Aggie Ring begins with a wax mold. They're assembled on a tree that is dipped in plaster and it bakes overnight. Once it's cured the tree of rings is dipped in gold.
"And from there the real work begins. Each ring is personally tended to. And the detail on the ring will be enhanced. Polished and engraving will be added. And for those who chose to have it antiqued, that will be done, but there's a lot of hand-craftsmanship that goes into it. Each ring is individually made. There is something unique about each ring," said Greenwade.
But ever since 1930 the design became uniform, making it recognizable even a world away. In the Aggie Ring Collection at the Association of Former Students in College Station, a story for every ring worn and symbolism that dates back more than a century.
"The Aggie ring dates back to 1889. On the sides, you have the star which symbolizes the state of Texas. You also have Oak leaves and Laurel leaves. It symbolizes the desire for peace but the strength to fight. And these are joined together with the ribbon which symbolizes the necessity of both of these traits for service," said Greenwade.
Both the Texas and United States flags, a rifle, cannon and saber that symbolizes that Texans fought for their independence and land.
"All of these things together remind us of the history of the ring and what we represent when we wear this ring," said Greenwade.
You can hear more Aggie Ring stories on "Texas Voices" which airs on Saturday, January 16th at 6:30 pm on 25 ABC (KXXV-KRHD).
"Texas Voices" features the artists, musicians and creatives in our great state. See more clips at interviews at texasvoicesshow.com.