7 Guidelines for Choosing a Flawless Vintage Engagement Ring

For many couples, the proposal can signify the success of the marriage. You want it to be just right, and the engagement ring is a big part of that. Vintage rings are extremely popular right now—with good reason—but there are many imitators out there. If you want a flawless vintage ring, here’s what you need to know.

  1. Know Your Eras

Vintage engagement rings are typically characterized as any ring that was created between 1880 and 1970. During that time period, there were several eras of notable jewelry. The most important include:

  • Edwardian
  • Victorian
  • Retro
  • Art Deco
  • Art Nouveau

Research these eras carefully to determine which styles you like best. It can be helpful to look through a collection of authentic vintage engagement rings online to see which styles were made in which era.

  1. Seek Expert Advice

Chances are, you’ve never purchased an engagement ring before, let alone a vintage piece. You’ll want the help of an expert to choose the best cut, clarity, color, etc.

The easiest way to find an expert on vintage jewelry is to visit a website or store that sells authentic vintage rings. Most jewelers are happy to educate you on vintage styles because they know you’re likely to purchase something from them in return. An expert’s advice can be invaluable during this process.

  1. Watch Out for Knock-Offs

Vintage engagement rings are popular because they’ve never gone out of style. Modern brides prefer the elegant stylings of rings made 50 years ago or more. As a result, you’ll often find factory-made rings designed to look like they’re vintage.

Some brides are fine with this, but others prefer the real deal. Vintage rings are typically handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces with stark detailing that you can’t replicate in chain jewelry stores.

Additionally, someone may try to sell you a department store knock-off for the price of an antique ring. It’s important to have a ring authenticated and carefully examined for factory detailing to determine the difference between the two styles before paying.

  1. Shop in Person

You can find excellent quality rings on the internet, but it’s hard to make a final decision if you can’t hold it in your hand.

“The internet is good for research,” says Marilyn Weiss, a national estate jewelry specialist. “You can get a sense of the styles that a store carries. But then you should go into the brick and mortar store. If you can familiarize yourself with how the rings look in person you will have a much better chance of finding the ideal ring for your beloved.”

Of course, once you’ve found the perfect ring style, there’s no reason not to purchase it online if you find a better price or a slightly better style. Just make sure you’ve felt a similar ring in your hand first.

  1. Choose a Hard Stone

Weiss also says that soft stones are no good for engagement rings. “You want diamond, ruby or sapphire,” she says. “Nothing softer than that. Amethyst, aquamarine, emerald, garnet, opal—all of these gems are much softer and can be easily damaged if worn every day.”

These harder stones are more expensive, but they will guarantee a longer-lasting piece. Since engagements are supposed to signify a lifetime commitment, you want a stone that will last that long.

  1. Take Your Time

You’re aiming for a long-term relationship with your bride-to-be. A strong relationship takes time and loving patience to grow, so you shouldn’t expect to find your engagement ring in an instant.

“Don’t be surprised if what you thought you were going to love doesn’t turn out to be your top choice once you try it on in person,” says Nicole Wegman, jewelry expert and retailer. “Try on every shape, even if you think you will hate it. You never know what something will look like on your hand.”

With time, the perfect ring will reveal itself.

  1. Listen to Your Gut

Wegman also encourages shoppers to let that little gut feeling guide the way. “Don’t try to convince yourself to love something,” she says. “Listen to your intuition and pay attention to what your eye continues to return to.” That’s when you know it’s time to stop shopping and pop the question.

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