Vintage engagement rings offer any bride-to-be a unique fashion piece to commemorate her upcoming betrothal. However, like all important purchases, vintage engagement rings should only be bought after extensive deliberation and research. With that in mind, here are some shopping tips for your search for vintage engagement rings.
The ring should always come with an estimated or exact date of manufacture. This provides you with a sense of history for the jewellery piece, as well as reassurance that it is authentic.
Any vintage engagement rings crafted with gemstones and diamonds should come with information about them, including details on their authenticity and an estimation of their grades. Diamond certificates are often not available for antique rings because the stones must be removed to undergo the certification process. Reputable dealers can still offer an estimation of their grades based on analyses performed by certified gemmologists.
An estimated appraisal and/or a certificate of authentication, on paper, should accompany the ring. Such a certificate may also show the source of the ring’s materials.
Always try to buy vintage engagement rings with at least a 30 day return policy, as this will give you time to have the ring independently assessed so you can be sure the original appraisal is correct. Some pieces cannot be resized either (rings fashioned from titanium and tungsten), so if the ring does not fit you should be able to return it.
If you purchase a ring through an independent jeweller, make sure they have a credible reputation. You can also seek out third-party reviews to get a sense of their business standing. Before any purchase, have a contract drawn up for a return policy and obtain a verifiable address and phone number of the jeweller as well.
Note that antique wedding bands which come with documented paperwork and original receipts are highly advantageous, though you can expect to pay more for the written history of the ring.
When you are shopping for genuine vintage engagement rings, look out for terms such as antique ‘reproduction ring’, ‘style ring’ or ‘design ring’. These pieces are most likely recent reproductions of old-fashioned designs and are not true originals.
Rings are not considered to be actually vintage unless they are at least 50 or more years old. However, many dealers do not consider something antique unless it is 100 or more years of age. Pieces less than 50 years old are usually labelled as ‘estate’ or ‘modern estate’.