The popularity of second-hand stores and swanky speakeasies sheds a bit of light on the modern fascination with eras of old. But, the love for vintage styles goes well beyond fashion and decor. Many modern brides-to-be are drawn to vintage engagement rings, and it’s easy to see why. Vintage diamond engagement ring styles are eye-catching and totally unique. Given the popular demand for antique style rings, modern makers now offer designs that emulate the look and feel of an antique-style engagement ring but are shiny and new. Before you browse online jewelry stores. read on to learn more about “what is a vintage-style engagement ring”, how it compares to much older engagement rings, and how to find one that’s right for you.
What is a Vintage Engagement Ring?
While a jeweler can use the word “vintage” to describe a variety of engagement rings, a vintage engagement ring is typically a ring that is more than 50 years old. However, some may use vintage to describe a ring that was created just outside the bounds of the modern era, i.e. 20-30 years old. “Antique” is often used interchangeably with vintage to describe older rings as well, but typically refers to rings older than 100 years.
Below, we’ll discuss the various styles of vintage and antique rings that can be used to distinguish jewelry from a specific era or inspired by a specific era.
Vintage or a Vintage Style Engagement Ring?
A vintage inspired engagement ring is a modern ring crafted in a design or with a certain stone, or both, that gives it a vintage appearance. A “vintage style” engagement ring differs from a vintage or antique ring in that it is not actually old, meaning it is newly created with stylistic elements that give it a vintage feel. This type of engagement ring style is also called a vintage-inspired engagement ring.
Why Consider a Vintage Style Engagement Ring?
Another key difference between vintage and vintage-style is how the rings are graded and priced. Today, diamonds are held to much higher standards than they once were because modern technology allows for more precise cuts and demands greater clarity. True vintage engagement rings will typically feature diamonds with lower clarity, cut, and color grades if they come with a graded report at all. Despite lower grades, vintage diamond engagement rings can have a relatively higher price tag because of their aged and one-of-a-kind nature.
In the olden days, colored diamonds and other colored stones were also more sought after, which, if you’re not looking for a colored stone, would make finding a vintage engagement ring that you love more difficult.
Many vintage rings, particularly those from centuries ago, will require more careful wear and upkeep than their modern versions too. Should any damage occur to the ring or the stone, it will be much more difficult to repair it in a way that keeps the integrity of the ring intact.
For these reasons, a vintage-style engagement ring is a great option to consider. It can offer all the beauty of a vintage or antique ring with the cut quality (which enhances sparkle), bright white color, and clarity of modern stones, often at a lower price and with less risk as well.
Vintage Engagement Ring Styles
Considering “vintage” can be used to classify any old ring, it’s important to know the most popular vintage ring settings and styles. Each style has design features that are unique to the time period when it first became popular. A few of the most common and best vintage engagement ring styles include:
Victorian-style engagement rings hail from the time period of Queen Victoria’s reign: 1837 to 1901. They are opulent and romantic in style featuring decorative motifs such as flowers, birds, and hearts and as many gemstones and diamonds as possible. During this time, yellow gold was the metal of choice for the band, while silver was used to set the center stone to make it stand out. That center stone was typically an old mine cut diamond, a cut that most closely resembles the modern cushion cut diamond, or a rose cut diamond, a round shaped diamond with a domed crown that resembles a rose.
Georgian style engagement rings date back even further than those from the Victorian era, from the mid-1700s to the early 1800s as defined by the many King Georges who came before her. Rich gold metal was also favored during this time period as were colored gemstones such as garnet and rose-cut diamonds. Rings from this era are extremely rare and delicate, which makes modern rings inspired by the style a much better option for today’s brides.
Art Deco Style
The art deco era from 1915 to 1935 brought with it a new wave of diamond engagement rings. Streamlined, sophisticated designs and clean-cut geometric shaped diamonds such as emerald, baguette, marquise, trillion, and the modern round brilliant cut define the art deco engagement ring. This style is one of the most sought-after vintage diamond engagement ring styles thanks to the innovative technology used during the time period and bold, eye-catching designs.
World War II influenced jewelry designs during the retro era from 1940 to 1965. Because platinum was necessary for the war efforts, jewelers turned to yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold to fashion engagement rings. They also turned toward bold, glamorous designs that reflected the Hollywood glamour that was popular at the time.
Modern Vintage Style
Of course, modern vintage style engagement rings can be fashioned to look like any of the above styles. If a particular era catches your eye, look for the design elements that are attributed to that time period in a modern creation. For instance, if you love the look of Edwardian-era jewelry, look for a modern engagement ring with a sapphire stone surrounded by round-cut diamonds and set in platinum. This style, often called a “cluster ring,” is one of the most coveted vintage styles; it resembles a flower and is bold, sparkling, and beautiful. On the other hand, if a Victorian ring caught your eye, consider a yellow or rose gold band and a cushion or round diamond flanked by rubies.
Unlike couples from centuries ago, you have an array of vintage-style engagement rings available to you when you shop online, in addition to the option to create a custom ring inspired by your favorite era.
Is a Vintage or Vintage-Style Engagement Ring Right For You?
Finding an engagement ring from a vintage era can be a tedious task, and there’s no guarantee you will find what you are looking for; vintage engagement rings are one-of-a-kind, which means you may have to scour trusted boutiques and resellers to find a style that speaks to you. If you do find a vintage ring you love, don’t hesitate, as it won’t resurface if it sells.
It’s also important to note that truly vintage rings will not be as perfect or necessarily as durable as modern versions. If you won’t be able to properly care for an aged ring or are after the fire and brilliance that are more widely available in modern diamond cuts, a vintage-style ring may be a better path to follow.
With a vintage-style engagement ring, you can experience all the charm and romance of the vintage style you love while having the advantage of modern technology that has enhanced diamond cut, clarity, and craftsmanship.
How To Find the Right Vintage-Style Engagement Ring
A truly exquisite antique engagement ring can be hard to find, but you won’t have to search high and low for a vintage-style ring that suits you. You can browse beautiful inspired vintage rings from the comfort of your home when you shop at Diamond Nexus.
Not only does shopping online with Diamond Nexus provide comfort and ease, but also an expansive selection of styles and the ability to filter your search by metal, stone shape, stone color, and price to find just the engagement ring you’re looking for. Plus, you have the educational tools you need, such as our diamond carat size chart to compare the carat size of every diamond cut.
Every one of our vintage style engagement rings is set with a Nexus Diamond™ alternative: the world’s first heirloom-quality alternative stone. With any of our vintage-style engagement rings, you can create your own history with something of incredible quality that will become truly vintage in time.