Vintage engagement rings are quickly becoming a popular trend, and it’s understandable. They are cost-effective and unique, which are two very important criteria for younger couples today.
The truth is that shopping for a vintage ring can be a little trickier than a “traditional” engagement ring, and they aren’t for everyone. Depending on what your lifestyle is like, what kind of stone you are looking for, and how much you value wedding bands, the vintage look may or may not be for you. If you are interested in the old-school look – here are a couple tips to help with your shopping:
Antique rings vary greatly in strength and design, and are not always as fragile as their age might suggest. However, thin flowery designs are popular with many periods of vintage ring design. If you are someone who is active and wants to wear your engagement ring at all times, you may want to consider a sturdier vintage design!
Stone Quality and Size
The diamonds found on antique pieces can look much different than the current diamonds being cut today. Cutting technology has improved drastically over the past 20-30 years compared to older cutting techniques used in vintage time periods.
Vintage diamond rings tend to not have the same fire and brilliance that a current cut would have, and stones often focused more on diameter than depth. This means that a one carat stone might look surprisingly large compared to a newer stone!
While the 4 C’s are important for finding the perfect diamond for you, it may be a good idea to consult with a vintage jewelry expert rather than going it alone.
Often times, antique wedding rings look incredible without an additional wedding band. Many of the pieces were designed to be stand alone rings rather than a set. One strategy you can use if you are set on a wedding band set is to wear the additional band on the opposite hand to avoid conflicting with the look of your vintage ring.
Vintage Engagement Ring Time Periods
One of the most important factors in choosing an older engagement ring is deciding what time period you like the most!
From 1741-1837, Gregorian period pieces are heavily influenced by nature. It’s very common to see birds and even insects in Gregorian rings. Many pieces from this era are created by hand and extremely unique.
The Victorian period lasted during Queen Victoria of England’s reign from 1836 – 1901. Similar to the Gregorian period, many of the pieces in this timeframe were inspired by nature and also heart designs. Platinum and diamonds became more popular during this time period as well.
Art Nouveau lasted from the late 1800’s -1919. Artistry was the key to ring design at the turn of the century, which means more complexity and a wider range of gemstones and metals were used as well. Many of the rings from this time period are a-symmetrical and do not lend themselves well to a second wedding band.
The Edwardian period occurred during the Art Nouveau period from 1895 -1914. Many of the rings with intricate filigree (small lace-like designs) are from the Edwardian period, and platinum and diamonds were synonymous with the time frame.
Lasting for 15 years from 1920 – 1935, the Art Deco period was all about big, bold designs. Many pieces utilized straight lines and big, colorful gemstones. Sapphires, Emeralds and Rubies became the preferred stone for this time period.
From 1935 – 1950, the Retro period was king. The Retro period was fully influenced by World War II and the Great Depression, which had a massive effect on the designs of the time due to financial hardships and lack of access to commodities. Platinum and diamonds were hard to come by, and large synthetic stones became popular replacements for more expensive stones.
If you are looking to go an alternate route and purchase a vintage engagement ring, just be sure to do your research! Vintage rings can be the perfect way to stand out from the crowd while having a piece that’s full of history and intrigue.
We carry a wide selection of vintage rings from different time periods and major brands like Tiffany and Cartier. Schedule an appointment below or click through to view our eBay selection.