How To Buy Antique Engagement Rings
There are as many good reasons to consider purchasing an antique engagement ring as there are reasons for deciding when to pop the question. While modern day jewelers struggle to offer customers something unique and contemporary, the bride-to-be may be more inclined to appreciate the style and inherent charm of an antique. Another perfectly acceptable reason for purchasing antique engagement rings is they often offer buyers a better quality diamond at a lower price than purchasing a new ring.
Before beginning your search for the perfect wedding ring, it is best to ask yourself a few questions.
Do you know about the four C's?
The four C's are the criteria professionals use to determine the value of a diamond.
"Clarity takes into account the number, character, and visibility of flaws within the stone. These are often referred to as inclusions. The fewer inclusions, the better the quality of the stone."
Carat is the size or weight of the diamond. The larger the stone, the higher the cost. An advantage to buying antique engagement rings is that in the 1930s and 1940s jewelers often compensated for a smaller sized diamond by setting it in an intricately designed white gold, square-shaped box. These made the stone appear larger.
"Color is a matter of taste. Modern-day standards put a higher value on a clear diamonds, as a rule. In the past, buyers wanted their diamonds to reflect a rainbow of colors, soft pinks, yellow, or green tints. While colored diamonds are still available today, they were considered more valuable in the past. It is also important to note that many of the modern colored diamonds are artificially altered to enhance the color."
Cut is also a matter of taste and another reason antique engagement rings may be the best answer. Over the years, the preference of cut has changed. Additionally, a laser now cuts most diamonds; whereas older stones were normally cut by hand,
giving them a more customized, romantic look.
What is the difference between an antique ring and an estate ring?
Antique rings normally refer to rings that are over 50 years old. Rings less than 50 years old and purchased used are considered as estate rings.
What are the styles of different eras?
Victorian Era (1835-1900) - Victorian era antique engagement rings featured diamonds or pearls set in yellow or rose gold. The ring styles varied from simple elegance to intricate detail. Many settings featured rows of diamonds that were cut with an extra facet in the bottom of the stone. This was known as a mine cut.
Edwardian Era (1900-1920) - With the invention of the oxyacetylene torch, platinum became the preferred metal for the period. The wedding bands were often crafted with lacy and pierced shapes, milgraining, filigree detail, and scrollwork. Rose-cut diamonds and sapphires were the preferred stones.
Art Deco Era (1920-1930) - Art Deco antique engagement rings feature a streamlined geometric look. They also reflect Egyptian, Asian, and Native American cultures. These rings were often made of platinum featured colorful, contrasting gemstones as well as diamonds.
Where can antique engagement rings be purchased?
Antique engagement rings can be purchased in a number of places: antique stores, estate sales, pawn shops, auctions, and there select vendors online and larger cities who specialize in the purchase and resale of antique jewelry. No matter where you purchase your engagement rings, remember to get a full description of your purchase in writing and look to vendors who offer a written returns policy. You may also ask if the jewelry comes with a certified gemologists report, which provides optimal proof that the jewelry is as described.