That’s a Lot of Bling: Texas Exes Staffer Sells 30,000 Class Rings

Texas Exes receptionist Pat Spradlin has been manning the front desk of the Alumni Center for 14 years. And during that time, she’s processed nearly 30,000 class ring orders.

That’s more than 300,000 carats, or 132 pounds, of gold.

Texas Exes Receptionist Pat Spradlin

When ring company Balfour gets orders, they go to Spradlin, who checks each and every one to make sure the buyer is either an alumnus or a soon-to-be-grad with at least 75 hours of academic credit.

She’s seen the price go up a tad, from $419 in 1996 for a men’s 10-carat ring to $850 today.

Spradlin says she loves reuniting lost rings with their owners. “It’s really rewarding,” she says, “when you get to tell someone the ring they thought was lost forever is going back to them.”

One ring turned up on the sea floor of the Caribbean, when a sharp-eyed scuba diver saw a glint of gold. Another shone in the dirt of a new homeowner’s backyard as he tilled the garden soil. And a third made it back to Texas all the way from New Zealand.

More recent rings, Spradlin explains, are marked with a unique number that can identify the owner in a database. When someone finds a ring, they call Spradlin. She looks up the number and gets in touch with the owner.

One of Spradlin’s favorite ring stories was a brush with celebrity. The assistant for actor Kyle MacLachlan, of Desperate Housewives and Sex in the City fame, contacted Spradlin to borrow a ring for his 2009 film Mao’s Last Dancer. After she sent it along, MacLachlan returned the favor with an autographed photo thanking Spradlin for her help.

Spradlin didn’t attend college. But she says if she had, she would definitely have a ring. “Oh, for sure,” she laughs. “They’re so much fun.”


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