By Michelle Graff
Crafted in 14-karat gold and set with yellow and white diamonds, the Stanley Cup rings given to the Pittsburgh Penguins have each players’ name and number on one shank. On the other are four diamond-set Stanley cups, representing the team’s four NHL championships.
Pittsburgh--Members of one of Pittsburgh’s three beloved black-and-gold teams received their championship rings at a private ceremony held earlier this week in the Steel City.

Players, coaches and staff of the Pittsburgh Penguins gathered at the city’s Heinz History Center Tuesday to collect the diamond and gold rings made for them by Jostens, the Minneapolis-based company best known for making class and championship rings.

The Penguins won the NHL championship back in June, when they defeated the San Jose Sharks 3 to 1 in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final.

Now, they have a ring to go with what is the club’s fourth Cup.

Jostens’ Chris Poitras, who talked with National Jeweler about the Denver Broncos Super Bowl rings earlier this year, divulged a few fun facts about the rings his company just made for the ‘Guins.

1. Yellow gold was used, again. The mixed-metals trend apparently has found its way into the wide world of sports.

Poitras, who is the vice president of Jostens’ sports and college division, said after years of making championship rings almost exclusively in white gold, Jostens is starting to see a shift toward the incorporation of yellow.

On the Penguins’ rings, the words “Stanley Cup Champions” are cast in 14-karat yellow gold, and the frame around the triangle on the team’s logo is as well.

While that might seem fitting for a black-and-gold team, Poitras said they also used yellow gold in the Broncos’ rings, as well as the World Series rings made for the Kansas City Royals.

He said when they made the Royals rings last year, it marked the first time in a long time that the company had used any yellow gold in championship ring.

2. There are some unique stones in the Penguin logo. The penguin himself is made of natural black onyx and his white belly is set with a pear-shaped diamond.

20161014 Penguins-ring-frontPhoto ©2016 Jostens, Inc.
On the blade of his hockey stick is a single baguette, and the triangle that forms the logo’s background is set with yellow diamonds. That triangle is meant to symbolize downtown Pittsburgh, which comes to a point (of sorts) where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers meet to form the Ohio.

3. It’s one of the biggest championship rings Jostens has ever made. The weight of the gold used for this ring is 104 grams, which makes it one of the heavier rings they’ve ever done, Poitras said.

The heaviest of all time ever produced by Jostens was for the New England Patriots when they beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl after the 2014 season. The weight of gold in that monster was 115 grams.

Just to put the size of these rings in perspective: The average engagement ring is around 4.5 to 6.5 grams and class rings are about 6 to 10 grams.

The Penguins’ ring also has 309 diamonds totaling 8.85 carats.

4. There’s a lesson to be learned from the mantra imprinted on the inside of the ring. The inside of the ring has two separate stamps

One side documents the results of the three playoffs series the Penguins had to win to get to the Cup, against the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning. It also includes the result of the Stanley Cup series, which the Penguins took 4-2

20161014 Penguins-ring-insidePhoto ©2016 Jostens, Inc.
Opposite the series results is the phrase “Just Play,” the mantra adopted by a group that had a tumultuous year; the Penguins fired their coach mid-season and made a number of trades in an effort to turn around the underperforming team.

“Just Play” reminded players to focus on what they could control--their performance on the ice.

5. Jostens is no stranger to making rings for black-and-gold teams. Jostens has made rings for the Penguins before, and created the rings for five of the six Super Bowls won by the city’s football team, the Steelers. This includes the Steelers’ two most recent Super Bowl victories, in 2005 and 2008.

The company also has crafted World Series rings for the Pirates, though that’s a more distant memory, as Pittsburgh’s baseball team hasn’t won the MLB championship since 1979.

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