Industry / Weddings

When It Comes to Vintage-Style Engagement Rings, Go Old or New


The vintage engagement ring is a much-clamored-for item, for a number of reasons.

First, imagine owning a piece of history as the center of your own love story! A customer may see a ring and fall in love, imagining the love it once represented for someone else and dreaming up a story line of its journey. Some rings really do have a traceable past, which is even more fascinating and special.

Ashley Zhang Everly engagement ring
Everly Victorian engagement ring with 2.85 ct. rose-cut diamond, price on request; Ashley Zhang

Then there’s the craftsmanship. Whether it’s the sharp angles of an art deco stunner or the delicate filigree an Edwardian-era piece, appreciating the handiwork of an artisan who lived decades (and in some cases now, a century!) ago is a worthwhile experience.

Devereux Daphne ring
Daphne Edwardian-era-design ring with diamonds and pearl, $3,100; Devereux

Conversely, there are reasons why some might love the look of a vintage ring but opt for a newly made one that matches its aesthetics.

Believe it or not, some customers may find a bit of history too jarring for their own liking. Some are superstitious, some may believe a ring is haunted or cursed and destined to bring bad luck to their marriage. And if you think this is a rarity, I’ll tell you this: When I worked in a jewelry store specializing in vintage pieces, I heard these complaints enough times to count on both hands, at the very least.

Lord Jewelry vintage style ring
Vintage-style ring in 18k yellow gold with enamel and 0.85 ct. t.w. diamonds, price on request; Lord Jewelry

In terms of craftsmanship, buying new has its perks. It takes an incredibly skilled jeweler to maintain the integrity of an antique or vintage piece, whether it needs to be sized or repaired. Some simply don’t have access to this kind of jewelry care or don’t feel up to finding someone who is.

Kendra Pariseault engagement ring
Dakota ring in platinum with 1.01 ct. marquise diamond and 1.8 cts. t.w. marquise diamonds, $150,000; Kendra Pariseault
Harvey Owen Shard ring
Shard engagement ring in rose gold with 1 ct. rose-cut diamond, price on request; Harvey Owen

There are also benefits to custom creations, some of which might mix elements of old and new. A modern vintage style might be set with an old mine–cut diamond, for example, blending two time periods—or more, depending on the design elements—in one.

Kwiat vintage style engagement ring
Engagement ring setting in platinum with diamonds, $3,650; Kwiat

There are valid reasons for customers to choose any route in their vintage (or vintage-style) engagement ring, though there are those who would argue fiercely for one or the other. Lucky for retailers, a vast assortment of options exists to please the palate of whatever a client may be looking for.

Top: Circa 1920s engagement ring in platinum with old European–cut diamond, price on request; Fred Leighton

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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