When it comes time to find an engagement ring, there are plenty of modern styles and designs to select from. But what if you want something with a more classic, timeless look? In this case, a vintage engagement ring could be the perfect option.
What is a Vintage Engagement Ring?
If you’re looking for an engagement ring in today’s market, there are plenty of choices to select from. Though most younger brides tend to gravitate towards the more modern and chic styles, there’s a little bit of something for everyone – including those who want a classic look from decades gone by.
When it comes to classic engagement ring styles, there are really two major categories: antique and vintage. Understanding the differences between the two will ensure that you’re an informed buyer throughout the process.
- Antique engagement ring. An antique engagement ring generally constitutes any ring that’s at least 100 years old. Within this category, you’ll find styles from the Georgian Era, Edwardian Era, Victorian Era, and Art Deco Era.
- Vintage engagement ring. Vintage engagement rings are old, but haven’t been around quite as long as antique rings. For the most part, this label refers to jewelry made after the 1930s and prior to the 1990s. It includes the Retro Era, Hollywood-inspired jewelry of the 1940s, and unique pieces from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
Because of their relative recency, vintage engagement rings are a little more readily available than antique engagement rings. But regardless of which category you have your eyes set on, you must do your due diligence and be prepared.
Finding the Perfect Vintage Engagement Ring
The engagement ring shopping process is intimidating enough on its own. Narrowing your search to vintage engagement rings limits the inventory on the market and requires an even more purposeful approach. Here are a few tips to help you along:
1. Set a Budget
The very first step is to set a budget so that you know exactly how much money you have to spend. Considering there are so many different options available, jewelers will often start by asking for your price range as a way of narrowing down their inventory and making it more manageable for you to find a ring.
You should know that most vintage and antique jewelry is going to carry a considerable markup – especially if it’s tied to a popular era that collectors are interested in. Don’t let this scare you away, but know that prices reflect this.
2. Find the Right Jeweler
Buying the right vintage engagement ring is all about working with the right jeweler. While every jeweler may have some vintage pieces in their inventory, there’s a difference between selling vintage engagement rings and actually knowing vintage engagement rings.
When vetting jewelers, look for ones that have large inventories (rather than just a piece here and there). Estate Diamond Jewelry is a great example. As you’ll see in their inventory, they have everything from intricate Edwardian pieces to fashion-forward Art Deco rings. This ensures you, the customer, are able to explore all options and make an informed purchase decision.
4. Evaluate Quality
Quality is important regardless of the type of diamond engagement ring you’re purchasing. But when it comes to a vintage ring, you have to be extra meticulous.
While an honest jeweler will make a very clear distinction between the two, you need to understand there are authentic vintage rings and reproductions. The latter are new rings that are made to look like older rings. They’re real in the sense that they contain genuine diamonds and other materials, but they aren’t original to a previous decade.
5. Get the Right Paperwork
While not always possible, it’s ideal if you can get some paperwork on the ring that you purchase. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it’ll also enhance the ring’s value if you ever decide to sell it or trade in for another ring.
Ideally, you want the lab reports from GIA and HRD. This allows you to know exactly what you’re buying. There are other reputable industry reports and certifications as well, so be on the lookout for any information you can find.
Adding it All Up
The engagement ring shopping process should be something that you and your partner anticipate and enjoy – not some burdensome task that you dread. By doing your research in advance, you can feel more informed and capable of making a smart, strategic selection that will be enjoyed for years and years to come.