Sustainability and Elegance: Choosing Vintage Rings for Your Wedding
When you want a ring with historical significance for your wedding, you can’t go wrong with a vintage piece. Despite being crafted in the past, these rings have timeless designs and intricate craftsmanship that most modern rings can’t match. Besides, buying a vintage ring reduces the demand for mining gems, contributing to environmental sustainability. Be that as it may, choosing a vintage ring isn’t easy because there are different vintage eras.
This guide will help you choose the best vintage ring for a wedding.
What Is a Vintage Ring Exactly?
Although vintage ring is a term widely used in the jewelry industry, most people misuse it to loosely describe pre-worn rings. Other times, people use it in place of antique and estate rings. A vintage ring is a ring from the mid to late 20th century. A ring qualifies for the vintage title if it’s at least 20 years old.
An antique ring, on the other hand, refers to a ring that’s more than a century old. That means a ring made before 1922 qualifies for the antique title. Because of their age, antique rings are rare and highly valuable.
Unlike vintage and antique rings, which originate from a given period, estate rings don’t belong to any period. The word estate refers to any ring previously owned by someone else. Hence, any ring previously owned, regardless of age, fits into this category.
Most websites and in-store jewelry boutiques will combine vintage and antique jewelry into a single category. Here’s an example from Estate Diamond Jewelry of their antique and vintage engagement rings.
The Six Eras of Vintage Jewelry
One common characteristic of jewelry designs that has persisted from the past is that they keep evolving. For instance, due to cultural changes, vintage jewelry has distinct eras distinguishing artistic designs used in different periods.
Here are the six eras of vintage jewelry.
Georgian Era Jewelry
This period is the longest in vintage jewelry. The Georgian Era spans 1714 to 1835. Most of the fine Georgian jewelry is sitting in museums, has been lost, or is destroyed. Jewelry pieces from this era generally consisted of yellow gold or silver. The stones consist of diamonds, pearls, sapphires, rubies, glass, paste, topaz, and garnet.
Victorian Era Jewelry
This period dates back from 1835 to 1900 and is named after Queen Victoria, whose fashion choices inspired jewelry designs back then. During this period, jewelry featured romantic and sentimental floral, insects, leaves, and animal motifs. Because diamonds were rare, the common gems were emeralds and rubies. When Queen Victoria’s husband, King Albert, passed, she wore black mourning jewelry. As a result, a new trend of gold jewelry decorated with black enamel emerged.
Edwardian Era Jewelry
From 1900 to 1915, society sought elegance and sophistication. The jewelry of the era featured diamonds and platinum. In fact, the jewelry manufacturers would have used as many diamonds as possible. Instead of setting the stone on a piece of metal in rings, they used a lace. This gave the rings a delicate but intricate appearance.
Art Deco Era Jewelry
The effects of World War I disrupted the advancement of the jewelry industry. From 1915 to 1935, the use of platinum ended – nonetheless, this opened the door for more creativity. Apart from using diamonds, during the Art Deco era, jewelers started using rubies, emeralds, and sapphires to create bold, contrasting colors. The stones featured geometric shapes and had more straight lines.
Retro Era Jewelry
The retro era, from 1935 to 1950, brought a revival to the jewelry industry. Diamond was overshadowed by bright yellow, rose, and green gold. However, you’d find it in jewelry as accent stones. The gems were bold, three-dimensional, and stylized with flowers, animals, and bows.
Mid-Century Era Jewelry
The mid-century era lasted from 1960 to 1975. Jewelry designs in this era spread across the globe. Following World War II, the global economy was beginning to grow. Jewelry of this era was much simpler, with straight-cut stones and bold colors. The use of platinum and white gold was also common.
The Most Popular Types of Vintage Ring Styles
As vintage rings come in different styles, it’s necessary to have an idea of what to expect when shopping. Below are the 10 most common motif designs for vintage rings.
- Halo style: With this style, you can create an eye-catching and stunning effect because of the large center stone lies, with tiny diamonds surrounding it. The center stone can take square, round, or oval shapes.
- Bezel style: If you mostly use your hands to work, a Bezel style would be appropriate because it has a thin metal band surrounding the center stone to keep it secure.
- Three-stone style: This style was common in the Victorian era and comes with a large center stone and two small ones on the sides. The stones symbolize the past, present, and future.
- Tiffany style: The ring setting here mostly consists of a rounded diamond held in place by six prongs. The diamond appears slightly lifted above the band, allowing light to enter from all sides.
- Cluster style: Stones in this style are set tightly and close to one another to form a floral or star shape around the center stone. This helps to elevate the ring’s sparkle.
- Crown style: The center stone in this style is set in a crown shape and has tiny stones sparkling on the sides. This style symbolizes power and honor.
- Two-tone style: A two-tone style would be ideal for a vintage ring with a modern touch of sophistication. It consists of two metals, mostly platinum and yellow gold, holding one or two center stones. Other metals, such as rose or white gold, are also suitable.
- Dome style: This style doesn’t feature any stone and is suitable for a minimalist look. However, the band is chunky and well-polished to make it noticeable.
- Elongated style: Since this style is uncommon, it might be more expensive than others. It features an elongated rectangular stone with rounded corners. It resembles an emerald cut.
- Channel style: This style features two parallel tracks on the band, forming a channel that holds two stones. The stones appear as though they’re suspended in the air.
Top 10 Tips to Know Before Shopping for a Vintage Ring
Finding a quality vintage ring isn’t an easy job. To make it a little smoother, we’ve compiled a list of 10 shopping tips that you should know:
- Research reputable vintage ring jewelers. This way, you’ll avoid buying a counterfeit ring because the jeweler will be interested in maintaining their reputation. Also, a reputable jeweler deeply understands the rings and can help you make the right decision. You can visit different jeweler’s websites and look for other buyers’ reviews to decide the one to buy from.
- Define the design you want. Usually, you’ll find lots of rings displayed and viewing each will waste your time and leave you confused. With a specific design in mind, the jeweler can help you find a suitable ring faster.
- Prepare a budget. The prices of vintage rings vary widely. Knowing the amount you’re willing to spend on the ring will narrow down your choices.
- Ask the jeweler for verification. A genuine vintage ring will have a certificate or relevant documentation showing its qualities and confirming that a professional jeweler has assessed the stone. Seeing the paperwork gives assurance that the ring isn’t counterfeit.
- Assess the vintage ring’s condition. Having a vintage ring on display doesn’t guarantee it’s quality. Examine it to ensure the stone is tightly fixed and there are no visible imperfections.
- Ask the jeweler about resizing. You might fail to find a ring that perfectly fits your finger. Ask the jeweler if it’s possible to resize the ring without altering its hallmark’s quality and design.
- Try several rings before making the final decision. Trying multiple rings exposes you to different designs, gemstones, conditions, and prices. This helps you choose a ring that matches your budget.
- Ask about return policies. Sometimes, you might fail to notice all the imperfections on a ring until you get home, or you might end up disliking the ring. It’s important to shop from a jeweler with a return policy should anything go wrong.
- Be open-minded. You might fail to find the exact design you have in mind. Be flexible to similar options.
- Consider if you have an emotional connection with the vintage ring of your choice. Each vintage ring has a unique history and story. Go for the one whose meaning resonates with your sentiment.
Why Vintage Jewelry Is Better for the Planet
A new ring with a freshly mined stone on your finger is exciting. However, the effects it has on the environment are massive. First, the ring’s metal and stone are mined beneath the earth’s surface. Mining destroys the landscape, leaving the site prone to erosion, landslides, and sinkholes. Moreover, it disrupts the ecosystem. The plants and animals occupying the mining site get destroyed and displaced. Secondly, mining leads to air pollution. The heavy machinery employed in the process uses fuel, which releases harmful gases that destroy the ozone layer upon combustion.
We consulted Benjamin Khordipour from Estate Diamond Jewelry about the environmental benefits of buying vintage jewelry. “Buying vintage jewelry is both ecologically great for the planet and ensures the protection of human rights in third world countries.” The reason being, that you’ll use metal and stone that was mined a long time ago. Vintage jewelry eliminates the demand for new rings, which will, in turn, reduce mining activities.
Is It Safe to Buy Vintage Rings Online?
Buying a vintage ring online has added convenience. You can find a wide selection of vintage rings that might be hard to find in physical stores. Also, it’s possible to compare prices from different sellers. Though buying a vintage ring online is safe, you should take the following measures to avoid being scammed:
- Ensure the website is credible before purchasing. The brand should not be anonymous. Instead, it should have an authentic background, and you should see online reviews from other buyers. If there are no reviews and the business has not existed for at least three years, that’s a red flag.
- Assess the ring’s details. Read the product description carefully, assess the pictures provided, and ask for more details if you’re not satisfied with the pictures provided.
- Compare the prices with other platforms to avoid being overcharged.
- Request for the ring’s documentation. An authentic online jeweler seller should be able to provide all the paperwork related to the ring.
- Ensure the seller has a return policy. Since you won’t have a chance to fit the ring, the seller should have an option for returning the ring should it fail to meet your expectations. As such, you should keep your payment details carefully because you’ll need them if you want to return the ring.
How to Care for Your Vintage Ring
All jewelry requires proper care and maintenance to retain its glamour, and vintage rings are no exception. Your ring will collect dirt and dust, so you must clean it regularly. You should wash it at least three times every six months. The requirements for cleaning the ring include lukewarm water, white toothpaste, and a soft brush. You should never use chemicals because they’ll damage the ring.
Wearing the ring when working is acceptable. However, most hand activities can cause the ring metal to wear off and the stone to become loose. So, when working, you should take off the ring. Also, it’s important to have a professional routine checkup to inspect if the ring is in good condition.
Although buying a vintage ring is a demanding task, with the right information, the process becomes easy. This guide explains everything you need to know when buying a vintage ring. However, if you need further consultation before buying, it is always best to consult with jewelry experts. We recommend reaching out to Estate Diamond Jewelry. They’ll provide all the information you need. Furthermore, they’ll help you choose the best vintage ring that falls within your budget.
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