How to Buy an Antique Engagement Ring

Depending on the taste of your bride, an antique engagement ring is one of the most romantic and special ways of showing your future wife how much you love her. These rings have history and character to them, rather than a new and contemporary style ring. Antique rings typically will have diamonds that are of a higher quality, and the value of the ring will appreciate over time because the detail of the prongs and settings are usually intricate and difficult to replicate. When buying an antique engagement ring, you should pay special attention to the cut, color, clarity, carat and character of the ring.

How to Buy an Antique Engagement Ring

Know the difference between an antique ring and an estate ring. To be classified as antique, a ring must be at least 50 years old whereas estate rings are less than 50 years old.

Set a budget. The price of an antique engagement ring can vary greatly among rings. So, set a budget that you’re comfortable with and go from there. You can spend anywhere from $200 to $5,000 on an antique engagement ring.

Consider the “Four C’s.” Jewelers consider cut, clarity, color and carat when appraising diamond engagement rings.

  • Antique engagement rings are cut by hand, while modern engagement rings are cut by a laser. Older stones will have a more unique and custom look.
  • Check the clarity of the antique ring by looking for flaws in the stone. The clearer the stone, the more valuable is.
  • Find a color that suits the taste of your bride-to-be. Antique engagement rings many times have diamonds that have yellow, green or pink tints.
  • Compare the carats (a unit of measurement for the size of the stone) in antique engagement rings. In the early 20th century, settings were sometimes used to make a smaller diamond look larger.

Find a ring with character. A ring that shows quality craftsmanship and attention to detail will set it apart from other rings. The love of your life should have a ring that is just like her: one of a kind.

Decide if you want to buy a ring from a particular period in history.

  • Rings from the Victorian era (1835 to 1900) were often set in yellow or rose gold. Rings from this period also featured a mine cut, which has an extra row of diamonds at the bottom of the stone.
  • A platinum ring with scrollwork on the band or lacy and pierced details comes from the Edwardian era.
  • For a geometric look with influences from Asian and Egyptian artists, opt for an Art Deco (1920 to 1930) engagement ring. These rings are typically platinum and include gemstones other than diamonds.

Shop around. Antique engagement rings can be found in antique stores, pawn shops, at estate sales and auctions. Some small jewelry stores even specialize in antique jewelry. You can shop online, but you need to be careful – it’s hard to get a good look at a ring from behind a computer monitor.

Ask for a gemologist report. By doing this you are being provided with proof that the antique ring is as old and valuable as the seller claims. If this report isn’t available, get a written description of the ring from the person you buy it from.

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