College Graduation Gift Guide


Graduating from college is a huge milestone in someone's life. It signals that a person is moving on to the next phase in their life. Otherwise known as commencement, it is both the beginning of a new life and the end of an old one. 

Therefore, it's understandable that many people want to mark this moment, not only with a celebration but with something that will last a lifetime. The giving and receiving of gifts at gradation is a popular way to show respect for the graduate's accomplishments.

The gift should signify the importance and gravity of what has been achieved, meaning there is lots of pressure to find the perfect gift. More and more people are choosing personalized jewelry as a way to help them remember this moment forever.

We've broken down this comprehensive guide to gifting personalized jewelry at a graduation ceremony so you can be sure they'll treasure your gift forever. By the end of this guide, you'll have found the perfect gift for college graduation 2021. 

WHY personalized jewelry?

Graduation is the culmination of years of hard work, sacrifices, and determination. Unlike birthdays, graduating is also one of the few milestones which is achieved through hard work, not just the passing of time.

For this reason, it is becoming more common to recognize and celebrate this extraordinary moment with something personal and memorable. 

Around 1.8 million people graduate college every year in the US alone. Although they will all share a similar experience, each student fights their own battles and follows their own path to graduation. A standard gift falls short of recognizing this individual journey. 

Personalized jewelry is becoming increasingly popular to celebrate graduation because it is a reminder of their success. The personal touch distinguishes their journey from that of their 1.8 million classmates.


Gifting jewelry dates back to around 100,000 years ago. Pieces of precious metal, polished rocks, shells, or feathers were a sign of wealth and status. They were gifted for important occasions such as weddings or the moment when a boy/girl became a man/woman.

Jewelry was given with specific intentions, such as to ward off evil, promote fertility, or provide luck. It could also symbol of rank, status and to show particular achievements.

Gold and silver became the most common metals to use in jewelry because both metals are too soft for other uses. Harder metals like iron could be recast or used for cooking pans or tools.

Gold and silver can be easily damaged, so owning them meant spending money on metals that were not useful and could only be used for decoration. This showed wealth and status as lower classes could only afford useful items.

Because jewelry is not useful, it is considered the original present. Jewelry represented something more than the object itself. An iron pot may be a practical gift, but it's still a pot. Gifts of gold and silver cannot be used for anything useful and so were used to mark important occasions, so wealth, status, or achievement.

Nowadays, giving jewelry as a gift still holds the same cultural meaning as it did thousands of years ago. Jewelry is given to signify something special rather than something essential. It holds an emotional value above and beyond the cost of the metal. This makes it the perfect gift to mark a special occasion. 


One of the many reasons why jewelry is such a popular gift, especially for graduation ceremonies, is that it can be worn and loved daily, rather than put away on a shelf or in a cupboard. It becomes a small, daily reminded of how much they have achieved; how much they are loved.  

While other gifts can show care and love, they may not reflect the specific achievement. When gifting jewelry, especially personalized jewelry, you can add:


Full name, family name, or a perhaps a college nickname. For example:  John, Alice, Lil Sis, Tigers, Smith


This includes their birthday, graduation date, years at college, and date of graduation. For example:  June 22, 1999, 6-22-99, 2017-2021


You could start with their first school and list every school they've attended, or focus on the specific school or faculty within their college.   For example:  Heritage Elementary, Charlton Middle School, St. Marks, Saint Anselm


Adding a birthstone can add a touch of color. Alternatively, you can choose their favorite color, school colors, or team colors. For example:  Orange (favorite color), Blue and White (school colors), Red Black and White (team colors)


Their student number has represented their identity for the last four years. It is the specific number which represents all their hard work and studying. You can bet they've got it memorized, so why not memorialize it forever. For example:  2787 (school number)


For many, sports are a huge part of college life. Leaving a team behind can be difficult. Team names, mascots, nicknames, or colors can help add an extra touch. For example:  RPI Engineers, Blue and White Forever


If your graduate has played the same number their whole athletic career, it can make an excellent way to remember their college days. If they've played more than one number, the progression of numbers can help them show how far they've come. For example:  19 (jersey number through high school and college), 55 11 44 (jersey number junior high, high school, college)


Personalized jewelry is also perfect for graduation because it can be matched to pieces for friends, family members, or teammates. Matching pieces can help create a link between the wearers like a bond that lasts a lifetime.

The relationships, friendships, and memories formed in college will last for a lifetime. Many gifts do not reflect this. Matching jewelry can be used to honor the relationships forged while studying.

A piece of jewelry can last for many generations, but the latest technology will be updated within years, clothes will be worn out or no longer fit, and champagne will be drunk. So, you should choose a gift that reflects the timelessness of a memory. 

Jewelry is a timeless gift that will withstand the test of time. When looking back on their college days with fondness, your gift will help them remember exactly how they felt. Many gifts, such as clothing, will go out of style and won't be worn after a few years. Jewelry is not only durable enough to last but won't go out of date. 

Another standard graduation gift is a car to help them start their new independent life. But vehicles are replaced, usually within around ten years. Unlike other gifts which can be upgraded or replaced, a personalized monogram jewelry will be kept for a lifetime, like a good memory.

WHAT TYPES OF personalized graduation jewelry SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

When it comes to choosing personalized jewelry, there are plenty of options. It is essential to think about the person you are buying for and what they might like.

Someone entering a workplace that requires lots of work with their hands may not appreciate a personalized bracelet but would love a college graduation necklace. Some people don't wear jewelry every day and so would prefer a keychain. 

You should also consider what existing jewelry someone owns. Chances are, they have already been gifted jewelry for a previous occasion. If your graduate already wears a necklace every day with sentimental value, they are unlikely to want a second necklace.

When it comes to adding engravings, some pieces of jewelry may be limited by space. Think about what you want to say. Long messages might fit on a dog tag but wouldn't work on a bar. A single name would look elegant on a bar but might look a little lost on a large tag.

So, what are the different types of jewelry you can personalize? Here's a list of the most common and the most popular so you can get some college graduation gift ideas. 

POPULAR TYPES OF jewelry to personalize

There's a great variety of unique types of jewelry that you can personalize for your graduate. An assortment of styles combined with different customization options makes it easy to narrow down the best choice!


Sometimes, one word is all it takes. Simple nameplate necklaces are one of the most popular styles of personalized jewelry.

As such, there are lots of options for adding a name to a chain. From simple script and cut-outs to bars or dog tags, you'll find a wide variety of styles.

Nameplate jewelry has historically been used as a coming of age marker to symbolize when a person takes full control of their life outside of their parents or guardian. 

But college graduation name necklaces don't have to be just a name. Many people pick up nicknames in college, so using this instead can be a fun nod to their college life and the identity they have created for themselves. Alternatively, you can choose to use the name of their sports team, college, school, or society. The possibilities are endless.


If you want something a little more personal, a cut out in the shape of their home state or the state from which they graduated is an excellent option. This extra touch reminds them of a place close to their heart as they move on in the world.

Many graduates will move away or leave the country entirely, so a state-shaped pendant is a thoughtful touch. You can personalize it further with their name or the name of their school, sorority, fraternity, or sports team.

This is a good reminder of their time spent in college that doesn't include endless studying and hard work.

Browse Personalized State And Engraved Necklaces.


For many, going to college is a family affair. Suppose your graduate is not the first member of their family to graduate from the same school. Why not gift a beautiful family tree graduation necklace to show the legacy continuing. They can even pass this down if their children continue to tradition, adding more names to the tree. 

Family trees aren't just for biological families. Sometimes, friendship groups become family. A family tree is often given as a gift to multiple graduates who wish to stay connected after their college days.

It's perfect for teammates, sorority sisters, and classmates. It's a more modern, elegant version of the traditional friendship bracelet.


If your loved one isn't the type to wear jewelry daily, why not get them a college graduation keychain? 

You can choose from the same wide range of designs and options to make your gift special, but your loved one can attach it to the keys of their new car or their first house.

Keychains also symbolize the unlocking of new doors and choosing a new path; what could be more perfect for a recent college graduate?


When it comes to personalizing rings, the engravings tend to be on the inside of the band, away from public view. This means the gift even more personal because only the wearer will know the true meaning and importance of the ring.

Of course, you can get name rings and rings that have engravings on the top of the band. You could add a name engraving to a class ring to help capture that school spirit forever.


Graduation is an inspiring time filled with hope and joy for the future. However, the realities of life can dim this over time.

A message of hope or inspiration on a small tag can help provide comfort and support even if you can't be by their side. Whenever your graduate feels down, they will be reminded of how much they have accomplished and how much they have yet to do.

Explore our Beautiful Selection Of Personalized Name Bar Necklaces.

PICKING YOUR JEWELRY: know your materials

When it comes to choosing jewelry, it can be tough to know where to start. One of the first decisions you'll need to make is; gold or Silver. Some people only wear gold or only wear silver in this case; your choice is easy. But many people like to mix and match. Whatever you choose, you should know what you're getting. 


18-carat gold might sound fancy and cost a pretty penny, but if you want your loved one actually to wear your gift, you might want to steer clear. 18k gold is purer than 14k, so it is softer and more likely to dent and scratch.

14k gold is much more durable and affordable but is still very precious. It won't tarnish or scratch, so it is the best option for everyday pieces. 


Sterling silver is made with at least 92% pure silver mixed with a more rigid metal to prevent damage. Silver is hypoallergenic and won't damage or fade.

It is often used in family heirlooms because it is strong enough to be passed from generation to generation.


Plated metal jewelry a metal or alloy main which has been coated in a precious metal. Of course, this makes it considerably less expensive than pure gold or silver.

Plated jewelry will wear down over time as the top layer becomes faded, and you will be left with the metal underneath. This means it isn't ideal for everyday wear. However, for special occasions of jewelry that will only be worn rarely, plated options look the same and cost half the price. 


Different stones have different levels of hardiness, and it's worth checking this before you buy. It's well-known that diamond is the hardest stone and is unlikely to scratch or crack; most other previous gems will easily stand up to everyday life without sustaining any damage.

You should keep a lookout for glass stones. Colored glass is often used for birthstones. While the color is vibrant, the glass can easily scratch or shatter. 


 Pearls are admired worldwide for being understated and classy – thanks in part to Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's! In reality, wearing pearls every day is a fair amount of work.

Not only do they scratch and damage easily, but they also react to skincare, perfume, and other chemical products, which can cause them to fade. Pearls can make exquisite jewelry but are best reserved for pieces that are not worn daily and are only brought out for special occasions.

POPULAR TYPES OF jewelry to personalize

With so many choices, it can be overwhelming when deciding what to buy your loved one. To help you make up your mind, we've compiled a list of the top three most popular designs that everyone loves and are a truly memorable and beautiful gift.

These designs are eternally popular and won't ever go out of style, so you can be sure they will continue wearing your present for years to come. 


Sports team names and numbers make an incredible gift for the sporting graduate or athlete. From dainty engravings to full number cut-outs, these personalized college graduation pendant can be attached to a keychain or necklace and are a great memorable gift for athletes, no matter what the sport.

You can add team names, engrave their jersey number, add gems in the team colors, or a small logo of their chosen sport.


You can't go far wrong with a classic script name necklace. The stunning gold-plated or Sterling silver design is made to last and is so classic it can be worn every day. For many, this piece becomes a part of their identity and a reminder of their achievements.

You can change it up by using the name of their school, team, or college nickname. Like in this design, you can also add a colored stone for their birthday or school colors.


They say home is where the heart is, and sometimes, that's in college. Let them cherish the time they spent away from home with a beautiful cut out of the state. You can even include a heart cut out to show exactly where they lost their heart.

Alternatively, as they move into their new life, you can remind them of where they grew up, a small piece of home to take with them. These keychains are popular with every graduate as an extra special reminder of where they came from and where they are going.

TIPS FOR BUYING personalized jewelry

We know that it can be overwhelming trying to choose the best and most suitable piece for a loved one. There is a lot to consider, and for such a memorable occasion, the stakes are high! So, here's our quick tip guide to make sure you get it right.

Tip 1: Think about what sort of jewelry they usually wear. Some people already have sentimental pieces of jewelry they wear every day. If this is the case, buying a second necklace may leave them conflicted. Make sure you are getting something they don't already have. If they always wear gold, don't get silver 

Tip 2:  What do you want to say? Depending on what you want to say, you might need a larger surface area. Dog tags are great for messages, while necklaces and rings are suitable for names and dates. 

Tip 3:  What are their extra-curricular activities or hobbies? Adding an extra touch, such as their team number, birthstone, graduating date, or school colors shows extra thought. 

Tip 4:  If you're really not sure, head to our best seller's page for some inspiration!

CUSTOMIZING YOUR personalized jewelry

The remarkable thing about personalized jewelry are the extra touches that take your gift from a beautiful present to truly special. 


Jewelry can be personalized with additional messages and precious stones. Often precious stones are used to mark birthdates, but you can also add jewels in the color of their college, sports team, or society.

Stones can be added to a range of designs, so if you are looking for the perfect piece, ask if you can add extra details.


Plenty of personalized jewelry is explicitly created to match your request with all the additional personal touches. However, lots of people choose to add personal touches and engravings to existing pieces of jewelry. This is common for items such as watches, hip flasks, and class rings.

If someone already has sentimental attachments to a piece of jewelry, adding an extra engraving to mark their newest achievement can be a sweet way of showing how much you know them.

Adding engravings are very common for pieces which already have value. Class rings can be engraved to give ownership over the specific ring, and watches are sometimes passed down in the family.

Engravings are especially popular on items that pass from generation to generation. Personalized pieces don't have to be new. 


Engraving is a very popular way to personalize a piece of jewelry. But what should you choose? We've got some options for you to consider, so you don't end up with something cheesy. 


Their name, nickname, school, sports team, subject, degree title. There are so many options for single word engravings. These are great, simple, and mark the occasion perfectly.


A birthdate, dates at school, age, graduation date, dates are an excellent way to tie a piece of jewelry to one occasion. They aren't too long and can fit on even the smallest pieces such as rings. 


Coordinates are a great thing to engrave because many people won't understand what they are or the specific location they relate to. You can choose the place of the ceremony, the heart of the college, or maybe their home, so they carry a piece of it with them through life.


Do they have a favorite song? A school song or anthem, perhaps a song that reminds them of their time at school. Think outside the box, and also consider poems or verses. 


Whether it's motivational, inspirational, heartfelt, or humorous, sometimes, the best words are someone else's. Depending on the length, you might have to choose a larger piece, such as a dog tag or a watch. We've included a selection of your favorites to help you decide:

"She believed she could. So she did." – William Shakespeare

"The only impossible journey is the one you never begin" – Tony Robbins 

"You are braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem and smarter than you think" – A. A. Milne 

"life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments" – Rose Kennedy

"Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's an experience"Victoria Holt

"The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams" - Eleanor Roosevelt 

"Kid, you'll move mountains" - Dr. Seuss

"Those who fly solo, have the strongest wings" – Anonymous

If we've got one piece of advice for you, it's this; double-check the spelling! There's nothing worse than a heartfelt message with a typo in the middle. 

MORE THAN ONE type of graduation

Graduating from college is always thought of as "the big one," but your children or loved one will likely graduate from high school. Some people may never go to college. Graduation comes in many forms including:

  • Highschool
  • Apprenticeships
  • Medical and Veterinary School
  • PhDs, Teacher Training and Theatre Courses
  • Training courses and Sports Development
  • Musical scholarships and More!

Studies have shown that positive reinforcement and proper recognition of achievements can help a child grow in confidence and encourage further learning and development.  By showing them that you see their achievement, you are helping them prepare for the future. This is why you shouldn't limited graduation presents to just college graduation; there are plenty of other achievements to celebrate. 

PERSONALIZED JEWELRY for every graduation

With so many different ways to achieve and graduate, it's highly likely you'll have a child graduating more than once. This means you'll need more than one present. 

Many people choose to give personalized jewelry because it can be used as a marker over time. You could start a customized tag with the date they left their first school. When they graduate high school, you can add another date and the same for college. 

Alternatively, you can list the name of their school or their sports number. Personalized jewelry can be added to over time to tell a story. This is a different way of showing them how much they have achieved. 

Another fantastic way of doing this is to buy a charm bracelet when they are young and add charms to it as they achieve great things. At first, this could be a little pair of feet for their first steps or a book when they learn to read. As they grow older and graduate from high school and college, you can add to the bracelet.


Graduating from college or an educational program takes work and often lots of support behind the scenes. According to research, students who received emotional support from family and friends were 19% more likely to achieve a grade of over 3.0.

It's a team effort. Many people who helped and supported over the years can often feel like graduation is a big day for them as well. Giving them a small token of appreciation and recognition for their work helps make this a special day for everyone. 

Let's be honest; it's usually mom and dad who take the brunt of the emotional support. Whether it's homework help, emotional 2 am phone calls, home-cooked meals, or laundry duty, Mom and Dad deserve a massive thank you.

But graduation is for everyone. Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, even old teachers, and mentors want to help celebrate just how far someone has come. They say it takes a village to raise a child; it also takes a village to help one graduate. Around 50% of college graduates say a strong foundation of support was the key to their success. 

So, when the big day comes, don't forget everyone else who helped make this day possible. The question is, what to get them?


So, giving gifts at university graduations doesn't have to be just for the graduate. But what should you, as the family and friends of a fresh college graduate, gift each other? Fear not, we've got some perfect College graduation jewelry ideas for everyone. 


This is the moment her baby flies the nest out into the real world. An appropriate gift might be a packet of tissues and some waterproof mascara.

But if you want to get something memorable, a necklace with the names of all her children will remind her that just because her children are growing up, they'll never stop being her babies. 


He might also benefit from a packet of tissues, although he may not admit it. But a stunning US state keychain is sentimental and lasts much longer than tissues.

Dads can be difficult to shop for, but a keychain won't cramp his style like other jewelry, and every time he reaches for his keys, he'll be reminded of how much his child achieved. 


Two-of-a-kind necklaces can help a brother or sister feel connected as their sibling goes out into the world. Matching sets allow them to share a small connection and keep that sibling bond as they grow up.

For those with more than one sibling, matching bar necklaces with each other's names engraved is truly a special gift, so no one feels left behind. Our Messages in Metal necklaces offer up to five bars. 


As the oldest in the family, grandparents and great grandparents can fully appreciate a family tree. You can even add more names as more of their grandchildren graduate. You can also add birthstones for an extraordinary gift.

WHERE TO BUY personalized jewelry

Personalized jewelry is a unique present to give. As such, it can be challenging to track down precisely what you are looking for. There are effectively two approaches you can take when beginning your search for the perfect personalized graduation gift.


If you want personalized jewelry, the best place to start is looking for specific companies that offer customized pieces. You can find a wide range of customizable pieces online. 

There are generally more options and pieces to choose from online, but of course, you won't see the work until it's made. Looking online is a great way to find everything in one place and compare different designs, styles, and prices. 

Some jewelry stores have a range of pieces that are customizable in-store. This way, you can be sure there is space for your message on the piece before buying it.

Many jewelry stores also have access to additional gems to add. You can also control the length of the chain, the size of the key chain or bracelet. 


Alternatively, you can look for a piece of standard jewelry you think they would love. You can search through jewelry stores, online, in antique shops, and specialty stores. Once you've found the perfect piece, you can search for a specialty engraver who will be able to advise you on what to engrave.

This approach can be time-consuming, but you're sure to find a truly unique style and fully-customized end result. The downside of this is that sometimes, you may not have space on your piece to say what you want to say.

Additionally, unless you supply the gemstones, you are often limited to engraving and can't add that extra sparkle. Also, specifically carved out names are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve without an expert.


Choosing a present to remember college graduation can be difficult. Many traditional presents aren't useful or spend the rest of their life at the back of a dusty shelf or in the moving box that was just never unpacked. Customizable jewelry is a thoughtful, personal gift that can be enjoyed for years.

The range of options from dainty necklaces to dog tags and key rings means you can create something specific to your loved one that they will genuinely treasure forever. We hope this guide has helped inspire you to find something unique and personal for Graduation 2021.

Helpful reading:

A Messages In Metal gift guide
A guide to help you choose the perfect personalized initial jewelry
A comprehensive guide to choosing a name necklace

December 8, 2020 by Conor Daniels