Our personal favourite antique engagement rings are art deco rings. with stylish geometric shapes and delicate Edwardian designs with gorgeous filigree work. The two epochs are especially popular with modern brides and they are the perfect options if you want something antique but also trendy. However, for traditional brides who prefer something even older than that, going back to 18th or 19th century could be an exciting adventure.
In Georgian times (1714 – 1830) diamonds were scarce and rarely used for engagement rings. There are however some gorgeous pieces with other precious gems such as amethyst, garnet, turquoise and emerald. Dating from 1839 to 1900, engagement rings from the Victorian era were usually made in yellow gold and they often featured rows of diamonds. In this epoch jewellers started making solitaire diamond rings and they were popularised in 1886 when Tiffany & Co introduced their first six-prong solitaire setting.
Rings from the Edwardian era were made between 1900 and 1920. The bands were often made from platinum, which became very popular since the invention of the oxyacetylene torch in 1890. Settings were decorated with intricate filigree work to resemble delicate lace patterns. Along with clear, sparkly diamonds, jewellers were also using a lot of colourful sapphires.
Art-deco rings date from the 1920s and 1930s and they are recognisable by sharp geometric lines inspired by the booming industrial revolution. They were usually made with diamonds and platinum, but sometimes the designs included colourful rocks such as rubies and sapphires.
Perhaps your rock will not be perfectly flawless because it is so old, but the ring can still be stunningly beautiful. Although it may also cost significantly less than a new one, it has symbolic value because it carries the spirit of old, more romantic times.
When choosing a ring in an antique shop, you should keep in mind that today’s standards for diamonds are not applicable to very old rings. Methods of cutting were far less developed and rocks often had flaws because there were no advanced techniques for discovering them. However, before purchasing your ring, make sure to read all the details about it. Ideally, you will be provided with a complete description that includes details such as age, size and condition of the ring, but also with a certified gemmologist’s report.
Examine the ring yourself and be particularly cautious with softer stones such as emeralds, pearls and opals, which can be damaged. It is best to look for your engagement ring in antique shops which have good credentials and trained staff that can offer you professional guidance.
If you prefer a new ring with vintage design, make sure it is not a cheap looking replica because it would be less expensive to buy an authentic piece. Do your research to learn which style belongs to which epoch and check which designs are popular for engagement rings at the moment.
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