Vintage Diamond

What Makes an Engagement Ring “Vintage”?

Antique Diamond in Antique Mounting

“Vintage” refers to anything at least 20 years old, while “antique” refers to anything at least 100 years old. When it comes to engagement rings, “vintage” usually signifies the ring’s style rather than its age. In general, if you’re looking for a vintage engagement ring, you’re really looking for a modern, vintage-style engagement ring setting.

If you’re visualizing a simple engagement ring, you’re most likely looking for a design from the “Retro Era” (1940-1960). However, most other vintage designs tend to be more ornate.

If your spouse-to-be frequents second-hand shops, they might prefer an older ring to a vintage-inspired modern one. Check out antique shops and ask family members for any heirloom rings you could have. If you’re going this route, read our article on antique engagement rings.

Eras and Inspiration for Vintage Engagement Rings

Aside from age, there’s not much to dictate style for vintage engagement rings. Technically, even relatively modern rings from the 1990s can be considered “vintage.” However, we’ll discuss four eras that modern vintage styles frequently emulate. See what catches your eye.

Victorian Era (1835-1900)

In the Victorian Era, engagement rings vary widely in designs and materials. (In fact, Victorian jewelry can be subdivided into early, middle, and late period styles). However, Victorian rings were generally yellow or rose gold and often included diamonds. Rows, halos, and clusters of diamonds became popular during this era. So, in some ways, a yellow gold double-halo ring could be an example of a Victorian-inspired vintage engagement ring.

Popular Colors

Since blue was the eponymous Queen Victoria’s favorite color, turquoise and blue enamel appeared often in jewelry from this period. Pearls were also featured frequently. Since perliculture hadn’t been perfected yet, pearls in jewelry from this era were natural, and small seed pearls were more common than larger ones. Other white gemstones like moonstone and opal were also popular.

Diamond Cuts

Although large diamonds were uncommon at this time, consumers began to wear diamond solitaires. However, most diamonds were old mine cuts, old European cuts, step cuts, or rose cuts, since modern diamond cuts like the round brilliant hadn’t been invented yet.

Victorian Motifs

Popular Victorian motifs included bows, hearts, birds, and snakes. Navette or marquise shapes were also popular, either as a gemstone shape or in the overall design. In addition, the bypass setting was popular during this period (another common choice for modern styles as well).

Edwardian Era (1900-1920)

If you’re into intricate, lacy designs, you’ll love jewelry from the Edwardian Era.
Rings from this period were generally platinum and included intricate metalwork called filigree in designs featuring scrolling, ribbons, and vines. Floral motifs were also popular.
Although diamonds and pearls continued to be popular, colored gemstones appeared in jewelry more frequently. Old mine cuts, old European cuts, and rose cuts were the most common cuts for diamonds in this period.

Art Deco Era (1920-1940)

In contrast to the lacy lightness of Edwardian styles, Art Deco was all about bold geometry and repeating patterns. Instead of curvy, flowing filigree, Art Deco rings often included metalwork with repeating, sharp angles and tiny beads called milgrain. This style has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years.
Step-cut diamonds like emerald and asscher cuts became fashionable, and colored gemstones, especially rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, were especially popular.
However, during the Great Depression, many consumers couldn’t afford these expensive gemstones, so they opted for more affordable alternatives instead, including amethyst, citrine, garnet, and glass.

Retro Era (1940-1960)

Prior to World War II, few engagement rings featured a center diamond. However, after the highly successful De Beers diamond marketing campaign, which began in the 1940s, engagement rings almost exclusively featured diamonds.
Unlike earlier rings, engagement rings from this “Retro Era” featured simpler designs. Solitaire rings and baguette side stones were quite popular, and the typical size of the center stone grew larger once the Depression ended.
Since the non-military use of platinum was banned during World War II, yellow and rose gold became the metals of choice for engagement rings in the United States during this period. Many rings from this era were two-toned, with both yellow gold and white gold in the design.

A modern round brilliant diamond in a simple gold design might just describe your grandmother’s engagement ring, and this nostalgia makes these rings popular today.

Here at Solaroidenergy, we only offer you the best quality vintage diamond deals since we aim to provide you with the most spectacular and exquisite engagement rings you’ve ever seen. With great unique features, it is available in different styles and designs, such as vintage diamond solitaire,antique diamond rings 1920s, vintage diamond engagement rings, and vintage diamond jewellery

Check out our vintage diamond and vintage diamond band selection for the very best in unique or custom, handmade pieces from our engagement rings shops.

What is a Vintage or Antique Engagement Ring Setting?
A vintage engagement ring is a ring with an antique style, such as one that’s designed with inspiration from the Victorian, Edwardian, or Art Deco time periods. Vintage settings often feature beautiful intricacies, like milgrain and filigree.

There are several types of vintage engagement ring settings, offering you plenty of styles to choose from. Review the most popular vintage engagement ring settings below to find a ring that fits your unique style.

Halo vintage engagement rings
Halo vintage rings feature a center diamond surrounded by a concentric circle or square of smaller diamonds. Vintage halo ring styles range from hand-engraved milgrain rings like this one from Blue Nile to intricate, antique rings such as this navette halo ring from James Allen.

Floral vintage engagement rings
Vintage engagement rings often include a floral element, such as a halo formed in a flower shape or milgrain detailing that resembles petals. This floral marquise vintage ring from Blue Nile is full of character and beauty. This floral halo from James Allen is Art Deco inspired. You can also find vintage floral scalloped halo rings such as this ring from Blue Nile.

Cathedral vintage engagement rings
With a cathedral vintage ring, two arches support the center stone — mimicking the appearance of a cathedral building. This simple cathedral ring from Blue Nile provides a classic look, while this more intricate cathedral ring from James Allen features filigree detailing.

Art Deco vintage engagement rings
The Art Deco style was prominent in the 1920s and 1930s. The style involves geometric designs, abstract patterns, and contrasting colors. This Art Deco inspired ring from Blue Nile features two prongs and intricate detailing. The tapered design in this six-prong ring from Blue Nile offers a polished Art Deco style, while this yellow gold vintage geometric design on James Allen is as stunning as it is unique.

Milgrain vintage engagement rings
Milgrain engraving is an embellishment that gives the ring an “antique” look—with tiny metal balls decorating the sides of the band and the crown of the ring. This infinity halo ring from James Allen, for example, features milgrain around the edges of the halo. The milgrain design in this engagement ring from Blue Nile and this halo ring from James Allen are on the front parts of the bands.

Filigree vintage engagement rings
Filigree is another kind of delicate metalwork that features metal beads or twisted metal threads throughout the setting. The antique engagement ring below showcases an example of yellow gold filigree embellishments on the shank and around the bezel set diamond. You can find similar filigree designs in vintage engagement rings, like this white gold engagement ring from James Allen and this cathedral ring from James Allen.

Why Choose a Vintage Style Engagement Ring?
Antique style engagement rings are eye-catching because of their non-traditional design, intricate details and classic look. As a timeless piece of jewelry, a vintage engagement ring is well-cherished and often passed down for generations.

You can even personalize vintage engagement rings to fit the exact style and desires of the wearer. Simply put, they stand out from the crowd.

From a gorgeous floral starburst on Blue Nile to a fancy milgrain design on James Allen, the options are truly endless. Antique rings can also be made with any precious metal: yellow gold from James Allen, white gold from Blue Nile, platinum from Blue Nile or rose gold from James Allen.

How Much Do Vintage Engagement Rings Cost?
Vintage engagement rings cost anywhere from $900 to $20,000 and more, depending on your setting, your diamond and its 4Cs. Prices for vintage engagement rings are similar to other engagement rings but can cost more if there’s more intricacy in the design.

For example, this regal frame engagement ring setting on James Allen costs $1,080. When paired with a 0.90 carat excellent round cut H SI1 diamond from James Allen, the ring’s total cost is $4,170.

As another example, this vintage cathedral milgrain diamond engagement ring setting on Blue Nile costs $1,150. When paired with a 0.61 carat round diamond with I color and VS2 clarity from Blue Nile, the ring’s total cost is $2,470.

Antique engagement rings are not cheaper than other rings, and in general, you can find vintage styles in every price range. That’s because many factors impact an engagement ring’s price, including the setting, center diamond and side stones.

On average, couples spend between $5,000 and $7,500 for engagement rings. Choosing a vintage engagement ring is more about style preference than paying more or less.
How to Buy Actual Vintage and Antique Settings — What to Know
You may be interested in purchasing an actual vintage ring—one that’s several decades old. While these can be unique and stunning rings with a special history, buying an older ring is a risky approach—and here’s why.

First, actual antique rings rarely come with a legitimate certificate from the GIA or AGS, giving you no real validation as to the quality of the diamond. The seller may promise that it’s an Excellent Cut with G Color and VS2 Clarity, but they often have no way of proving it.

Second, it’s challenging to understand the actual condition of the setting. Is it securely holding the diamond? Will it deteriorate over time? Again, without proof of the materials used and who made the ring, it’s nearly impossible to understand the quality you’re receiving.

Third, when it comes to cost, an actual vintage ring may not give you the best value. Are you paying solely for the fact that it’s 40 years old? Are you paying for 18K gold when the setting is actually made of 14K gold? The uncertainties with an actual vintage ring are certainly real.

That’s why we highly recommend purchasing a new vintage or antique style from a vendor you can trust. Many high-quality vendors offer stunning rings in these motifs, like this hexagon engagement ring on Blue Nile and this white gold filigree ring on James Allen. You can achieve the same beautiful, vintage look without the concerns of going with an actual antique.

You can buy an old engagement ring, though, from an estate sale, auction, friend or family member. If possible, we recommend getting a certificate to go along with your engagement ring. That way you can verify what it is you’re buying. You can also shop with Abe Mor to find a beautiful recycled diamond engagement ring. Abe Mor is a trustworthy vendor that many of our readers have worked with.

How to Buy Actual Vintage and Antique Settings — What to Know
You may be interested in purchasing an actual vintage ring—one that’s several decades old. While these can be unique and stunning rings with a special history, buying an older ring is a risky approach—and here’s why.

First, actual antique rings rarely come with a legitimate certificate from the GIA or AGS, giving you no real validation as to the quality of the diamond. The seller may promise that it’s an Excellent Cut with G Color and VS2 Clarity, but they often have no way of proving it.

Second, it’s challenging to understand the actual condition of the setting. Is it securely holding the diamond? Will it deteriorate over time? Again, without proof of the materials used and who made the ring, it’s nearly impossible to understand the quality you’re receiving.

Third, when it comes to cost, an actual vintage ring may not give you the best value. Are you paying solely for the fact that it’s 40 years old? Are you paying for 18K gold when the setting is actually made of 14K gold? The uncertainties with an actual vintage ring are certainly real.

That’s why we highly recommend purchasing a new vintage or antique style from a vendor you can trust. Many high-quality vendors offer stunning rings in these motifs, like this hexagon engagement ring on Blue Nile and this white gold filigree ring on James Allen. You can achieve the same beautiful, vintage look without the concerns of going with an actual antique.

You can buy an old engagement ring, though, from an estate sale, auction, friend or family member. If possible, we recommend getting a certificate to go along with your engagement ring. That way you can verify what it is you’re buying. You can also shop with Abe Mor to find a beautiful recycled diamond engagement ring. Abe Mor is a trustworthy vendor that many of our readers have worked with.

Pros and Cons of a Vintage Setting
A vintage style ring provides immense beauty and unique details. Before making your purchase, review the pros and cons to see if it’s the right option for you.

Pros
Provides remarkable beauty and character
Enhances the prominence of the center stone when well-designed
Matches a time period or personal style preference
Unique and intricately built
Cons
Can require more cleaning and maintenance due to intricate details and crevices
The setting can distract from the beauty and sparkle of the stone (if poorly designed)
With an actual vintage setting (different than a new vintage style ring), additional time and expertise is necessary to ensure it’s well-maintained and securely holds the diamond.

Best Antique and Vintage Settings for the Most Popular Shapes

Vintage style settings can be crafted for any Diamond Shape because of their classic design and ability to customize the setting. Popular diamond shapes for vintage rings include Round Brilliant, Princess Cut, Cushion Cut and Oval.

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