Vintage Engagement Rings – Danger! Danger! Danger!

Vintage engagement rings are appealing for so many reasons. Antique style is the trend in all types of fashion from jewelry to clothing to home decor. More so, vintage styles often carry wallet friendly prices or are handed down through families. But buyer beware, vintage engagement rings often come with hidden dangers.

A Good Con

No one wants to be taken advantage of, but there are many jewelry dealers out there looking for a naive buyer shopping for vintage engagement rings.

A groom is often so caught up with the experience of buying what could be the most important piece of jewelry and thinking about his bride-to-be’s reaction, that he may not be overly concerned with minute details.

To avoid a scam, make sure you choose a reputable antique dealer or jeweler. Pawn shops may seem appealing, but unless you’ve done your homework, go somewhere you can trust.

Make sure your purchase comes with an appraisal and find out the return policy so that you can have a second opinion and return the piece if it doesn’t check out.

Sold “As Is”

Most vintage engagement rings are sold “as is”, meaning in the condition they are. Before you shop, buy a loupe, a jeweler’s magnifying glass, and learn how to use it.

Inspect the ring thoroughly before making your purchase, looking for signs of wear. This will allow you to better detect damage or wear.

If you think that the wear is extensive, renegotiate the price or find an alternative selection.

Common Repairs

One of the most important places to look for wear on vintage engagement rings is the prongs or metal covering the diamond. The metal should wrap over the edge and rest on top of the diamond or gemstone.

If the metal is lifted up or worn very thin, you may need to have this metal replaced. Depending on the metal, prong repair can cost anywhere from $35 to $150 per prong.

The shank is the second most common place for wear in vintage designs. The shank is the part of the ring that wraps around the finger. Over time, this band wears thin, especially when worn alongside another ring like a wedding band. If this area is thinner than 3mm wide, you may consider having it replaced.

A re-shank, as it is called, can range anywhere from $65 and up depending on the metal, style of mounting and finger size.

Getting What You Paid For

We all know the saying “If it’s too good to be true… it probably is”. This statement couldn’t be more appropriate when shopping vintage engagement rings.

The price will often tell you what you need to know. There is the concern of “overpaying”, but if you’ve done your homework and shopped around, you should have good reference for prices. It is when the price is too good to be true that you should raise an eyebrow and ask for more details.

Buyers of vintage engagement rings should expect that their investment will need some type of maintenance during its life. It is best to have necessary repairs done up front by a reputable jeweler. Do your homework before you shop, make sure the stores you visit are reputable and have solid return policies. It’s often the rush decisions, made on emotions, that end up getting us burned in the long run.

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