Many of today’s brides are requesting vintage engagement rings. They love the classic, old-time feel of these beautiful pieces of jewelry, and the trend is growing rapidly in popularity.
Perhaps it’s the unique style that makes the ring pop when worn. Or perhaps, your girl likes that the ring has been hand-crafted by an artisan rather than being cut by a laser beam. Most vintage rings are timeless as well, so they’ll never go out of style. It’s one of the few ring styles that will probably last your entire marriage in terms of trendiness.
But what exactly makes a ring vintage? There’s a lot that goes into answering that question. Many ring makers claim that a ring is vintage, but it doesn’t quite meet the criteria. Know you’re getting the real deal before you pop the question.
Check the Date
Vintage engagement rings should be at least 60 years old, meaning anything made before the 1960s would be considered vintage. If you’d like a more classic ring, look in the era of the late 1800’s to early 1930’s.
When buying a ring that’s considered vintage, ask the dealer for the letter of authenticity. Most ring sellers will provide this for you at no additional cost. The letter should verify that the diamonds and metals in the ring are as advertised. It should also have a date that the ring was made.
If you’re purchasing a used or antique ring, they may not have a letter of authenticity available. You can always have the ring inspected by a jeweler with experience in these matters to determine the date, style, and quality of the ring.
Vintage engagement rings tend to be more ornate in nature. They’re also more likely to be handcrafted, which means detailed filigree in the metal and distinct groupings of precious gems.
Because the ring has been handcrafted, you’ll probably spot a few tiny blemishes when the ring is under a microscope. For example, it probably won’t be perfectly symmetrical on both sides of the stone and there may be slight differentiation in the filigree patterns.
For many women, the imperfections add to the charm of the ring. They love the character it adds. However, others prefer the more modern, symmetrical styles of today’s rings. If your bride-to-be is somewhat of a perfectionist, she may prefer a modern ring that’s made to look vintage rather than a true vintage ring.
Watch the Setting
Vintage rings come in a variety of settings, unique to the era in which they were created. You may occasionally find a ring unlike any other, but most vintage styles can be categorized under the following settings:
- The Bezel: This setting dates back to the middle ages. It’s characterized by an elevated collar in the metal that wraps around the rim of a round diamond. It offers excellent protection for the stone when compared with prong settings.
- The Cluster: Popular in the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian eras, the cluster is a popular Art Deco setting that involves a tight cluster of round jewels at the tip of a ring. The cluster is often set inside a bezel setting, but individual jewels might be held together with prongs as well.
- The Four-Prong: Probably the most popular vintage ring, the four-prong setting started in the Art Deco period. It’s also the most modern vintage ring style, involving a round jewel set in four prongs.
- The Three-Stone: Also a very popular modern ring, the three-stone setting dates back to the Georgian era, although it was most popular in the Victorian and Art Deco periods. It usually involves one large stone in the center with two smaller stones on either side. It may be in a bezel or prong setting, and multiple colors are often used.
- The Box: The box setting uses prongs that make the stone look boxy. It also allows the light to flow beautifully through the stone.
- The Halo: A stone or cluster of stones is surrounded by a halo of color, usually green or black, as was popular in the Art Deco period.
- The Buttercup: Dating back to the Victorian period, the buttercup involves intricate filigree work on the band as well as an elaborate setting for the stone. The stone is set in petal-like prongs, resembling a sophisticated flower.
Each vintage ring setting belies a realm of modern history and beauty. Any girl would be lucky to receive such a ring that was thoughtfully selected. These tips can help you select the perfect, legitimate vintage ring.