Vintage engagement rings are technically rings that were made fifty years ago. These rings are rich in history and the level of craftsmanship is beyond good.
Some people prefer to propose with a vintage for a couple of reasons, but the most common is the sentimental value. Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with her mother’s sapphire ring. Prince Harry used gemstones from her the late Princess Diana’s jewellery collection and set it on a new band that Meghan Markle said yes to.
Vintage rings are also unique since the technology to cut gemstones today didn’t exist five decades ago, cutting stones was done manually and engraving used to be done by hand. The passion, patience, and art that goes to create rings back in the day is purely handmade.
For some people, proposing with a vintage ring or even a vintage-inspired ring makes more sense if the person they’re proposing matches the aesthetics or the vibe of a vintage piece.
But did you know there are three types of vintage engagement rings? Yes, shopping for a vintage may become overwhelming if you don’t know which type you’re looking for. So, if you’re planning to get a vintage ring for a foreseeable proposal, keep reading.
The Three Types of Vintage Engagement Rings
Victorian Engagement Rings: 1835 – 1901
It’s quite difficult to find a Victorian ring that is in good condition nowadays because they were made a very long time ago. They are not widely available in local wedding jewellers but you should be able to find them in specialist antique jewellers. Victorian rings have a distinctive design featuring an intricate and decorative metal.
Victorian bands are thicker and less shiny. They often hold a large stone supported by several smaller gemstones. In the Victorian era, diamonds are not as popular as they are today, that’s why other gemstones were typically used – think of sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and pearls. All of these stones are not less durable than diamonds, so when shopping for a Victorian ring, you need to see it up close in person, just to ensure that the stone has no significant scratches or cracks.
You also need to know that gold is the most popular metal used to make jewellery in this era because Queen Victoria love for gold was hugely influential. When you find a genuine Victorian ring, don’t be surprised if you won’t find a purity stamp on the band. Stamp was only required from 1854 as a result of the ‘Stamp Act’.
Edwardian Engagement Rings: Early 1900s
Edwardian engagement rings are very intricate. They are known for their ornate bands that look like folded lace almost. This is the result of the metal bending technique called ‘filigree’ that was first used in this era.
Jewellery makers embraced the technique and ornate rings started to pile up in jewellery stores. Suddenly, the possibilities became endless. With this new technique, ‘millgraining’ was also introduced and it’s still being used today in making modern rings.
Many Edwardian engagement rings are platinum because people found the metal holds up well. Diamonds are often in the ‘rose cut’, but less expensive stones are still used including sapphires, black opals, and aquamarines.
Art Deco Engagement Rings: 1920s – 1940s
Art deco is probably the most popular type of vintage ring. The distinct feature of an art deco ring is the use of geometric shapes and symmetry. These two elements were highly descriptive of the modernisation that is taking place at the time. It is the time when Henry Ford introduced the Model Ts, air travel was just beginning, and manufacturing technology was revolutionising. The modernisation allowed jewellers to do much more than they previously can.
The most common gemstone shapes in this ear are the French and the Trillion shape. The French shape is your basic square shape, while the Trillion is a triangular shape that is rarely found nowadays. Stones are mostly set on platinum, and gold and silver were used sparingly.
Looking for a vintage engagement ring?
At Monty Adams Jewellery Concierge, we can customise a beautiful vintage-style ring specific to your style and budget. You have a variety of centre stones to choose from – colourless diamonds, pink Argyle diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and so much more. Make an appointment today.