We’ve always loved antique engagement rings, and more couples have been taking notice for awhile now.
Requests for antique or vintage style jewelry have skyrocketed over the past few years.
Sure, we can easily design and craft a vintage inspired ring that looks exactly like it came from the Victorian Era or from the Edwardian period. But we live for a truly authentic, antique engagement ring!
The vintage jewelry allure is no surprise. Antique engagement rings offer a range of different benefits:
- They’re unique and one-of-a-kind.
- No two are ever the same.
- They’re usually hand crafted and well made.
- It’s a sustainable engagement ring option that’s easily passed down generations.
- Antique jewelry can be more economical.
- Their rich history tells a story and makes a great conversation starter.
What is an Antique Engagement Ring?
First, to be considered an antique, the piece must be at least 100 years old. Items that are old, but not quite a century in age, are labeled ‘vintage.’
You may also see a ‘reproduction’ of an antique jewelry piece. In other words, it was specially produced to look old. But it’s just not the same as an actual antique.
Think about it. Each antique engagement rings tells a story. Wouldn’t it be cool to add your story to the timeline?
If you’re in the market for an antique engagement ring, you’re in the right place. We’ve been scouring estate sales and auctions for years. As a matter of fact, we have one of the largest collections of estate jewelry in Houston.
You can view some of the current vintage inventory available in the Jonathan’s eBay store. We carry vintage Tiffany’s & Co., Cartier, David Yurman, and Tacori, to name a few.
Vintage Jewelry Eras
There are several notable eras in the evolution of jewelry. Before you start searching for the the perfect antique engagement ring, it’s good to know the differences of each main time period.
Georgian Era (1714-1837)
The Georgian era ranged from 1714 to the mid 1830’s. This period is named for all the period’s British monarchs– George I through George IV.
Authentic Georgian Era jewelry is extremely rare. Most of the period’s jewelry was melted down overtime to create newer, trendier pieces.
Gemstones of this period were hand cut, which took an extremely long time. The table cut, rose cut, and old mine cut were popular at the time.
The following trends were prominent in the Georgian Era:
- intricate metal working featuring yellow gold and wires
- designs of flowers, crescents, ribbons, bows, leaves, feather plumes, and foliage
- memorial jewelry depicting painted on funeral or mourning scenes, often accompanied by the deceased loved ones’ hair
- hair jewelry
- cluster rings
- choker style necklaces
Victorian Era (1837-1901)
Named after Queen Victoria, this period brought prosperity and wealth to the British. Commerce and industrialization caused the middle class to explode, which led to a profitable consumer goods industry.
Queen Victoria had recently married Prince Albert, and the jewelry during this time was created to show harmony and love. Much of the antique jewelry from the early Victorian Era featured elements from the prior Georgian Era.
Later Victorian Era jewelry trends included:
- simple styles featuring red garnets, onyx, and black enamel
- animals like dragons and insect
- stars and flowers
- precious gemstones and metals like diamonds and gold
Edwardian Era (1901-1915)
The transition from Queen Victoria to King Edward VII in 1901 brought completely new styles. Technology advances and new trends in women’s fashion caused a shift toward daintier, elegant jewelry.
See also: Edwardian Era Jewelry
Platinum was manufactured for the first time. This allowed jewelers to create thin, almost indestructible settings. Gemstones (rather than the setting) became the main focus of antique engagement rings.
Diamonds were also prominent with the increase of mining. Other stones that were widely used included:
- Russian green demantoid garnets
Antique Engagement Rings are On Trend
Today’s brides aren’t traditional by any means. The round, brilliant diamond engagement ring is still the most popular choice, but more couples are seeking out alternative styles.
Brides want a unique option to represent their own personalized tastes. No one wants the same cookie-cutter, big box ring style that everyone else has.
An antique engagent ring offers a non traditional alternative. Not only do vintage rings offer unique style at a budget friendly cost, but they provide a romantic history.
Imagine what stories these antique engagement rings could tell if they could talk.
Maybe they would tell about a horse and buggy ride through the park, where it was placed on a finger in the center of Central Park. Or about a love story torn apart by the war, only to be that much sweeter after being re-united.
Final Word on Antique Engagement Rings
We don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon. In fact, we expect the demand for vintage engagement rings to keep climbing.
You never know what antique jewelry we may have in stock, so make an appointment today!
Jonathan’s Fine Jewelers has dealt in vintage jewelry for over 25 years. If you are interested in an antique piece or would like us to evaluate pieces in your possession, call or send us an email to schedule an appointment. You can also view our eBay store to find some of our current inventory.
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