(Kitco News) –Super Bowl 50 will be as much about the bling as it is about the game, in fact the competition around the design of the championship ring can be just as fierce, and has been around for almost as long as the event itself.
Out of 49 Super Bowls, only four companies have ever been hired to design the rings: Tiffany & Co., Balfour, Jostens, and Diamond Cutters International (DCI). Jostens has been the standout leader, creating 32 of the 49 rings, Tiffany has created seven, Balfour has created five and DCI, a relative newcomer, has created three. Tiffany also creates the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy, which is presented after the game.
Last year, New England set the standard for championship bling with the biggest and most expensive ring created to date. The ring, cast in white gold, features 205 diamonds, for a total weight of 4.85 carats.
According to ESPN, each ring designed by Jostens, cost $36,500 and team owner Robert Kraft had to pony up a total of $5.475 million. The league only pays $5,000 for a total of 150 rings, the rest of the cost is covered by the team owner.
Last year’s ring features four mini Lombardi Trophies, representing New England’s previous victories in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2014. The design also highlights the franchises trademarked mantra: “Do your job.”
Of course for sheer sparkle factor, that record is still held by the Baltimore Ravens. The team’s championship ring, which was also designed by Jostens for Super Bowl XLVII, boasts 243 diamonds.
While most rings are made from gold or white gold, in 2010 Super Bowl XLV champions the Green Bay Packers opted to have theirs made of platinum — which at the time was a few hundred dollars more expensive than gold per ounce. The ring also featured 105 diamonds.
The competition for most ostentatious jewelry pieces actually dates back to the 1970s between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders, who were bitter rivals on the field. Oakland’s Super Bowl Xl ring featured 27 diamonds; however, their design was outdone by Pittsburgh, which featured 30 diamonds in its Super Bowl XII championship ring and then Oakland one-upped them again with 33 diamonds in its Super Bowl XV ring.
Just think the very first championship ring, won by the Green Bay in 1967, featured only one diamond — how far we have come in 50 years!
While the winner of Super Bowl 50, between Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos and Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers will be determined Sunday, the winner of the ring design won’t be known for another few weeks and it could be months before the design and cost is revealed.