There are few investments more emotionally charged than the purchase of an engagement ring, whether modern or vintage. The desire to own both a piece of history and the workmanship of an era increases the significance of buying vintage engagement rings dramatically. In the process of completing this momentous purchase, there are many things to know. To help ease the process, here are three tips for buying the best vintage engagement rings.
1. Buy from a reputable jeweler
Don’t hesitate to ask about any certifications, the process by which the stock was selected and purchased, and the types of repairs your jeweler is capable of handling. Doing your research prior to purchase can save a lot of time and trouble later. Reputable jewelers such as Estate Diamond Jewelry can make the purchase process of vintage engagement rings easy.
2. Know the 4 C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat
These are the determining factors for the value of a diamond. Cuts can include princess, old mine, and round brilliant, all of which affect the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond. Carat size refers to the weight of a stone — generally, one carat equates to roughly 0.2 grams. Clarity refers not to the clearness of a stone, but to the inherent flaws and imperfections in the stone. While some flaws are large enough to be visible to the human eye, others can only be seen under a magnifier or loupe. Color refers to the variation of hues in a diamond, which can range from white to pink and yellow.
3. Educate yourself
With so many different types of antique engagement rings, time and effort is often required to find the perfect ring and understand the period from which it originates. Whether you like Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian, Art Deco, or Art Nouveau styles, you need to know what the differences are and how to tell them apart. A few helpful pieces of information to consider include:
- What metal interests you? Gold, platinum, white gold, and silver are all representative of certain eras.
- What themes are you looking for? Georgian jewelry, for example, focused primarily on nature. While that theme carried into the Victorian era, it was supplemented with flourishes such as bows and hearts.
- What types of stones are you considering? While diamonds are the traditional stone for an engagement ring, there have certainly been some breathtaking pieces made with centerpiece sapphires, emeralds, and rubies as well.
- What kind of detailing are you looking for? Intricate wire working, fine filigree, and milgraining techniques all have their place in their respective eras. Discovering what you like and what looks best on you can sometimes be a process.
Finding the perfect ring, whether Edwardian or vintage Art Deco engagement rings, requires research and patience. Remember that these rare treasures cannot be purchased in any store and that working with a jeweler to find the unique piece that best suits your preferences may not happen overnight. If your goal is to bring a piece of history with you into your future, buying a vintage or antique engagement ring may be precisely the right choice.