January08

Pros and Cons of Buying a Vintage Engagement Ring

Pros and Cons of Buying a Vintage Engagement Ring


A vintage engagement ring can be a stunning piece of jewelry, a great bargain, and an ethical engagement ring choice, but it isn’t always the best option for everyone. Understanding the pros and cons of buying a vintage engagement ring can help you decide if an older, seasoned ring is best for your happily ever after.

Consider Style First

Before opting for an older ring, first and foremost you must consider the style and preferences of that special someone who will be wearing it. A vintage engagement ring is unique and distinctive, and can have lovely detail and craftsmanship, but it may not be as sharply refined as the cutting edge, modern styles of today. If your partner prefers sleek, trendy designs with extra sparkle, a more modern ring may be a better option. If, however, they love history and romance with the charm of yesteryear, a vintage or antique ring can easily capture their flair.

Pros of Vintage Engagement Rings

A vintage engagement ring offers more than just a stone set in precious metal. It also offers…

• History

Vintage and antique engagement rings have a rich history and longevity to their symbolism. These rings may already have decades or even a century or more of happy anniversaries behind them, and embody the richness of relationships that can stand the test of time. While couples may not always know the detailed history of their ring, the mystery of that past can have its own special allure as couples plan their future together.

• Value

Older rings are, by their very nature, used, secondhand pieces. This can give couples some surprising bargains and lower prices to choose from when compared to new, modern rings, especially when comparing prices per carat of the ring’s stones. For couples with a strict budget or more frugal-minded spending habits, a vintage engagement ring can be a wonderful bargain without compromising on stone size or ring detail.

• Uniqueness

Vintage and antique rings were crafted before modern machines created precise designs that could be easily replicated and mass produced. Expert craftsman and artisans designed and created each ring by hand, and that individual attention often gives older rings more unique designs such as lace or filigree detailing, basket settings, halo arrangements, and other one-of-a-kind options that are harder to find from modern jewelers.

• Conflict-Free Diamonds

Many socially-conscious couples are concerned that their engagement ring might harbor conflict diamonds, stones that were sold to help finance civil wars, terrorist actions, or human rights abuses. Because those issues only became associated with diamond mines in the early 1990s, however, older rings do not have conflict stones and couples can feel comfortable that their vintage engagement ring played no role in those atrocities.

• Eco-Friendly Settings

In addition to conflict-free stones, older engagement rings are also more environmentally friendly choices for conscientious couples. Older rings do not require additional mining, shipping, and processing, all of which contribute to habitat loss, toxic contamination, greenhouse emissions, and more. Vintage antique engagement rings, however, are already long-since designed and only need to be enjoyed for more years to come.

Cons of Vintage Engagement Rings

While they do have many benefits, it is equally important to consider the potential negative points before purchasing a vintage engagement ring, including…

• Dullness

Older stones are generally cut with larger, less brilliant facets and do not have as much internal light reflection as modern stones. This means that, side by side, vintage rings may not appear to sparkle or glitter as much as their modern counterparts. This is especially true if the stones have become worn over the years with the edges wearing off a bit. A good cleaning, however, can often help brighten older rings considerably.

• Color

Modern style dictates that the highest quality, best diamonds have the whitest coloration – ideally with no “color” at all in the stone. In older eras, however, warmer tones and diamonds with hints of yellow or brown were often preferred. This may make a vintage diamond seem to be of lower quality compared to modern stones, but it is simply a difference in styles and preferences as the years have passed.

• Durability

Vintage engagement rings may have already stood the test of time, but they do tend to show their age and may require repairs as settings loosen with extended wear. Because of the delicate nature of their detailed, unique settings, repairs could be more expensive than with newer rings, but experienced jewelers can make arrangements to repair and strengthen even the oldest antique rings.

• Maintenance

Because vintage engagement rings are often more exquisitely detailed, they can require more diligent, delicate maintenance to look their best. Cleanings cannot always be done in modern machines, particularly if a ring has several types of stones or the settings are excessively worn. Hand-cleaning can be painstaking, but will help keep an older ring looking magnificent with all the sparkle and shine it showcased when it was new.


• Matching Sets

Given the one-of-a-kind nature of many vintage and antique rings, it can be difficult to find a matching wedding band to create a bridal set with a vintage engagement ring. Of course, couples may opt to forgo an accompanying band, or may choose to have a band customized to fit snugly adjacent to a treasured vintage ring. Another option is to wear the engagement ring on the right hand after the wedding, and a beautiful vintage wedding ring on the left.

Evaluating the pros and cons of vintage engagement rings is important when deciding if an older ring is right to symbolize your relationship, but ultimately, the choice is up to you. Finding a ring you love and one that can represent the love you share is a happy challenge as you take this first step toward your wedded bliss.