A Love for all Times: The Vintage (and Vintage-Inspired) Engagement Ring

Sustainability—with respect to products’ impacts on both the environment and on the social welfare of our world’s population—has been a huge concern among engagement ring shoppers. It has grown in importance over the years and will certainly become a larger theme as time goes on.

This demand has led to a growth in varied wedding jewelry trends: alternative engagement rings, where a colored gemstone takes center stone rather than a diamond; lab-grown diamond and gemstone rings; and sometimes the absence of gemstones altogether. Another strong option is that of the recycled jewel, whether through the purchase of a secondhand piece that’s modern in style or, more popularly, a vintage ring.

Erika Winters Jin engagement ring
Jin custom engagement ring in 18k yellow gold, price on request; Erika Winters

Shoppers will look to vintage jewelry for sustainability reasons, but there’s a story aspect at play too: Imagine the journey an art deco engagement ring may have taken—sometimes its history can be traced, while more often, it can only be dreamed.

Melanie Casey Overture ring
Overture ring in 14k yellow gold with rose-cut diamonds, $1,450; Melanie Casey
Anna Sheffield Wheat engagement ring
Tapered wheat engagement ring in 14k recycled yellow gold with 1.2 ct. old European–cut diamond and 0.15 ct. t.w. diamonds, $12,500; Anna Sheffield

This quest for vintage has branched out to include some variations. For example, designers are crafting new, custom engagement rings around vintage stones—old-mine cuts and old-European cuts, as well as the well-loved rose-cut diamond—incorporating a client’s specific tastes while keeping responsibility in mind (after all, the absolutely perfect ring of someone’s dreams can be hard to come by organically, especially if one’s engagement has a timeline).

Beverley K diamond engagement ring
Engagement ring mounting in 18k white gold with 0.36 ct. t.w. diamonds, $2,695 (center stone not included); Beverley K
Jennie Kwon marquise Duo Deco ring
Duo Deco ring in 14k yellow gold with marquise and round diamonds, $1,485; Jennie Kwon Designs

And then there are the vintage-inspired pieces, the newly crafted items that mimic the intricate lace of antique filigree, the swoops and swirls of etching and engraving, the coveted angles of art deco design. These are typically, though not always, friendlier options for shoppers on a budget, and many are crafted with recycled and responsibly sourced materials, still catering to the desired aesthetics as well as the environmental standards of a shopper.

Michelle Oh Edwardian inspired ring
Edwardian-inspired engagement ring in platinum with cushion-cut diamond and sapphires, price on request; Michelle Oh
Kirk Kara rose cut diamond engagement set
Dahlia collection wedding set in 18k yellow gold with diamonds, $880–$2,810 (center stone not included); Kirk Kara

Retailers would find it prudent to consider all three varieties for their stores—and if able to offer custom design, find a good source for the settings and stones—as the holidays approach. Quarantine or not, there’s no stopping love.

Top: Marguerite ring in 18k yellow gold with 3.42 cts. t.w. old European–cut diamonds, $28,500; Single Stone

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JCK Contributing Editor

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