Antique Engagement Rings – When Older is More Enticing Than Younger
You may not have even considered it, but one of the hottest new trends for nuptials-to-be are antique engagement rings.
In the ever expanding search for exclusivity, couples are finding matchless quality and rare designs of antique engagement rings to be just the ticket for finding that exceptional ring to celebrate their life changing event.
If She’s Unique, Shouldn’t Her Ring Be?
Uniqueness is the number one reason people are drawn to antique engagement rings. Every jewelry store in America has a line of unique engagement rings, and many chains and discount stores carry the same ones. Even if they aren’t the same ones, they all have nearly the same look, style, and settings.
Antique engagement rings came from a period in history where style and craftsmanship were the pride of the individual jewelers who made them.
Be a Pro, Not a Con
As with any decision to explore options, you need to look at the pros and cons. Fortunately with antique engagement rings there are a lot more pros than cons.
Some of the pros along with uniqueness are that they possess a higher quality of craftsmanship, have considerably more charm and may be a good option if you are looking for cheap engagement rings. I guess one of the cons is you can’t walk into Wal-Mart and buy one, but really, do you want someone seeing you buy your rings at Wal-Mart?
She’s Over 50, But She Sure Is Pretty
So what is considered to be an antique engagement ring? Well, it may be a little confusing at first, because when you start looking at older jewelry you hear terms like “vintage, estate, old”.
While all of these terms are sometimes intertwined with unknowledgeable people, the term “antique engagement ring” refers to rings that are at least 50 years old.
Estate rings refer to those that are under 50 years old.
Now the term vintage engagement rings, is many times a reference to both estate and antique as one group, and the jeweler will then go on to define the two different types within the group. The biggest thing to keep in mind, is that rings made before 1950 will provide you with the most charm and exclusivity.
Edward, Art or Vicki?
There are typically three engagement ring styles you will find and they are defined by the era they were made in.
First off you have the Victorian style, generally made from about 1835 to 1900. These rings can be very simple to very ornate, are often made from yellow or rose gold and many have rows of diamonds.
The second style is the Edwardian style, starting in 1900 at the end of the Victorian era and going until about 1920. During this period in time the oxyacetylene torch came into existence and had quite an impact on engagement rings. Jewelers began using platinum, started pierced designs and many other sought after mill works like lace and scrolling. Sapphires were also the rage during this era, often found in antique engagements.
The last style is Art Deco, from 1920 to 1930, were influenced by wild times of the era. These rings are often styled with brighter colored stones, fashioned after the culture of exotic places that were the vogue of the time and are currently the most popular of antique engagement rings today.
A Diamond May Not Be Her Best Friend
When you are looking at antique engagement rings, diamonds are just one of the many choices in stones. Although diamonds are the most popular stones for engagement rings today, that wasn’t always the case.
Antique engagement rings often had rubies, emeralds, opals and pearls. Part of the whole aurora in buying an antique engagement ring is the variety of choices in stones as well as styles and designs.
Like Eating a Cherry, Watch Out For the Pits
Just as you would for a conventional ring, make sure you are working with a reputable jeweler when purchasing an antique engagement ring.
If you are opting for a different stone than a diamond, have the ring looked at carefully to make sure the stone has no internal cracks or flaws, especially softer stones such as pearls, emeralds and opals.
Another thing to keep in mind when looking at stone quality of antique engagement rings is the fashion of the time.
While today everyone looks for the clearest diamonds they can find, that was not so true in earlier eras. Depending on the time, yellow and rose colored diamonds were in, and even slightly green diamonds. Cutting and processing of diamonds was not near as advanced as it is today, so keep that in mind during your search.
One last thing to look for is as much documentation as possible. Besides knowing how old the ring is and the era it came from, its history, name of the style and any other relevant information is great to have. Your antique engagement ring is an instant heirloom, so get them to give you all the information they have in writing.
Okay Sherlock, Where Do We Search?
There is an assortment of places you can begin looking for antique engagement rings.
The usual suspects would be jewelers, antique stores, estate sales, pawn shops and of course online. Make sure where ever you go the person is reputable and you are knowledgeable about what you are looking at.
If you are pretty much a novice when it comes to jewelry, I would steer more towards jewelry stores. However, some of the best bargains are at pawn shops and estate sales.
If you want to explore all the options, get a friend or an acquaintance who knows jewelry to go with you. I personally like to start by looking online, educating myself and locating some options before I go jump in the car and burn that $3 a gallon liquid gold.
While no one can or should make the decision for you whether to go with the more common approach and buy new rings, or explore the option of an antique engagement ring, just knowing there is another alternative can give you some peace of mind.
Antique engagement rings aren’t for everyone, but those whose taste requires exclusivity, uniqueness and quality craftsmanship, they are an excellent option to pursue.