Engagement Ring Styles – How ‘Bout Antique Style Engagement Rings?

Antique style engagement rings have always been popular with a small sector of the public. Between all the engagement ring styles they are perhaps the ones with most exuberance and glamour.

Roughly one-fifth of betrothed couples have opted for antique style or actual vintage engagement rings over the past few decades – and many don’t even know it.

Some of the most contemporary engagement ring styles pay homage to the elegant rings of days gone by. For example, many of today’s white gold and platinum settings reproduce the look of the 1920s and 1930s. Likewise, many of the striking styles with brightly colored gemstones are just mimicking Art Deco styles.

Ring In The New With Classic Style

You can’t go wrong with antique style engagement rings, at least not in the design and eye-candy departments. That’s because the vintage styles have endured for a reason – they’re tried and true. The gorgeous jewelry designs of the Edwardian era would not still be around if they weren’t timeless and universally appealing.

Antique-style engagement rings fall into three categories: Victorian (1835-1900); Edwardian (1900-1920); and Art Deco (1920-1930). The most popular choice by far is Art Deco.

Back to the twenty percent of people who favor antique engagement ring styles, you’ll find in this group the snobbish and the eccentric. A perfect example of the former is the world-famous Victorian-style engagement ring bestowed upon Kate Middleton by fiancé Price William, a luscious 18-carat sapphire masterpiece surrounded by a halo of diamonds.

This Royal engagement ring, perhaps the most copied piece of jewelry in history, was actually made in the 1980s for Princess Diana, who also preferred a turn-of-the-century design.

For a prime example of the latter, antique style engagement rings appealing to the off-beat buyer, look no further than Tom Cruise. The Hollywood heavyweight gifted fiancée Katie Holmes with a stunning Edwardian-style five-carat oval diamond set in rose gold on a halo of pave diamonds.

Antique Style Engagement Rings – Yes Or No?


  • Snob Appeal:  antique look engagement rings have traditionally been the domain of the rich and famous
  • Finger-Grabbing Effect:  more people will grab your finger to get a closer look at the intricacies of antique designs
  • Selection: a vast array of vintage-style and antique-inspired engagement ring styles abound, including many with colored gems at reasonable prices.


  • Clash Factor: Oftentimes, a beautiful antique-style engagement ring will clash with your other jewelry and with your outfits, especially if it has colored stones.
  • Fakery: there is a tendency for authentic-looking antique engagement rings styles to look more like costume jewelry than a heartfelt pledge to your fiancée
  • Hairline Cracks: the softer gems often seen in antique-style rings, such as emeralds and opals, are much more susceptible to cracks and breakage.

Here’s an interesting observation: in the world of antique engagement rings – the old ones, not the modern reproductions – the actual date the item was produced is no more important than an afterthought. The date is one of the most important considerations in every other kind of antique collectible. Not so with antique engagement rings; the appraisal value is the main number here.

Everything Old Is New Again

Finally, I have a perfect solution for bridging the gap between genuine antique engagement rings and their modern reproductions. If a vintage ring catches your eye, take a picture of it on your cell phone, or screen-grab a photo from the internet. Then show that photo to an experienced jeweler and ask for his quote on a brand new faithful reproduction.

Of the many available engagement ring styles, an antique-style ring will set you apart, and show the world that you can think outside the (jewelry) box.

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