Vintage engagement rings are engagement rings that were created between 20 and 100 years ago. Beyond this period, a ring becomes antique. These engagement rings are almost always second-hand, though some unworn rings may be available. There are also vintage-style engagement rings that are new or reproduction rings that copy designs from one of the leading vintage eras.
Your search for your ideal vintage ring will take you through some of the most distinctive fashion periods in recent history:
Opulent diamond jewelry was a prominent feature of the Art Déco era. Gatsbyesque elongated proportions and details like geometric designs, triangular shapes, and sleek and streamlined finishes feature widely in rings from this era.
During this period, many diamonds were still hand-cut in the Old European style with a greater emphasis on shape and proportion than brilliance.
Retro style is often what first comes to mind when thinking of 'vintage' items. The retro period spans the more austere and militaristic 1940s to the color and vivacity of the 1960s.
During this period, the round brilliant cut diamond came to the fore with a variety of inventive settings that are rich in vintage charm and distinction.
Increasing prosperity and the strong influence of couturier Christian Dior's New Look shaped an era in fashion and jewelry that is still admired for its unrivaled glamour.
Perfect for the modern bride who appreciates the 'Mad Men' aesthetic.
The New Romantic movement embraced the lace, velvet, diamonds, and pearls of 18th-century romanticism and was popular among music artists like David Bowie.
The stunning 14 diamond and sapphire engagement ring of Diana, Princess of Wales drew worldwide attention and has continued in popularity to the present day.
The understated style of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and designers including Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Prada were characteristic of 90s minimalism.
Minimalist style eschewed yellow gold and embellishments, instead opting for clean lines, smooth curves, a preference for white gold and platinum.
Here are some essential considerations for finding the right vintage ring:
The search for a vintage engagement ring can become overwhelming because of the wide range of stones that vary in cut and arrangement from ring to ring.
Before you start your search, consider whether you would like a solitaire diamond or multi-stone ring. Diamonds can be appraised, or laboratory evaluated for their cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.
Many vintage engagement rings also include stones like emeralds or opals that can become damaged more easily than diamonds.
Learning more about the history of a vintage engagement ring can help you evaluate its value and suitability.
Some rings may be reproductions rather than authentic vintage rings. Look for hallmarks, certifications, or any other documentation that can verify the ring's authenticity.
Have your vintage engagement ring examined carefully for damage and wear. Enquire if the ring has undergone any restoration, especially if it is very old.
The claws or prongs of a ring may be loose, risking the loss of a stone. Rough edges also may cause the ring to snag on clothing.
The reasons for choosing a vintage engagement ring are as unique and special as you. Here are some notable benefits of owning a vintage ring:
A vintage engagement ring is always a considered choice, and some couples may appreciate choosing a ring that is sustainable and conflict diamond-free.
Interest in vintage clothing and jewelry is increasing as people look for unique and characterful pieces that reflect their personality and style. Contemporary fashion frequently revisits vintage eras, meaning your ring is unlikely to go out of style.
As vintage engagement rings are secondhand, they present the opportunity to source a beautiful ring at a great price. Ideally, your money will go much further meaning you can select a ring with more generous carat weight.
Though its appeal has endured, vintage jewelry is not for everyone. Here are some of the downsides of a vintage engagement ring:
With a one-of-kind engagement ring, finding a band that coordinates and stacks perfectly can prove difficult.
Matching a classic solitaire will be simpler, but for rings with an exaggerated silhouette or setting that is close to the finger, a standard wedding band is unlikely to fit.
Solutions include selecting an open wedding ring, shaped wedding ring, or creating an entirely custom band.
If your perfect vintage ring is the wrong size, you have the challenge of resizing your engagement ring without affecting the stones or damaging it. Resizing may also add to the cost of your ring.
Expert cleaning transforms vintage engagement rings, but the cut of the stones may mean that they don't possess the brilliance of contemporary diamonds. Vintage diamond cuts like Old European and Transition may have less brilliance but still glow in their own, charming way.
A vintage engagement ring can be a beautiful and resonant choice that perfectly reflects your personality and style. With insight, patience, and a little imagination you will find the piece that will become part of the next chapter of your story.