Buying an engagement ring is one of the most exciting decisions you’re going to make—but it can also be stressful. You’ll want to choose a ring that embodies the nature of your relationship, a ring that suits your partner’s style and personality, and of course, a ring that’s truly unique.
There are many broad options available to you, such as shopping for a ring with a modern style, or customizing a ring from scratch, but one of your best options is shopping for a vintage engagement ring.
The Advantages of Vintage Engagement Rings
Vintage engagement rings offer a variety of advantages over their counterparts:
- Uniqueness. First, and perhaps most importantly, vintage engagement rings tend to be unique. Some modern rings are somewhat mass-marketed, and you might find dozens or hundreds of options that look the same. However, if you buy a ring that was originally made in the 1850s, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see someone wearing something similar.
- Old-fashioned styles. Some styles simply aren’t replicable. You might be able to design a ring that resembles an old-fashioned style, or incorporate specific antique qualities, but there’s no substitute for the real thing. If you love a specific style, like Victorian jewelry, vintage jewelry is your only viable option.
- Value. Because of its rarity and inability to be replicated, vintage jewelry tends to hold more value than its contemporaries. Some varieties may cost more upfront, but the long-term value is unparalleled.
- Versatility. The sheer number of options in the vintage jewelry world is impossible to match with modern styles. When shopping, you’ll have hundreds of years’ worth of styles and approaches to choose from. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, or if you simply want to keep your options open, vintage jewelry is one of your best bets.
- Quality. Though plenty of high-quality modern jewelry is made with care and by hand, old jewelry is practically guaranteed to be well-made. Old pieces of jewelry had to be made by hand, typically by a highly skilled professional. And the fact that it’s made it this long is a testament to its longevity.
- Environmental friendliness. Jewelry, like all consumer goods, has an environmental impact. Choosing to buy a vintage ring that’s already been created, rather than a ring that’s made from new materials, can therefore reduce your environmental impact.
How to Shop for a Vintage Engagement Ring
If you’re interested in shopping for a vintage engagement ring, there are several steps that can make your experience smoother—and increase your chances of finding the perfect fit:
- Understand your goals. Why are you looking for a piece of vintage jewelry? Are you looking for a specific style, or a piece from a specific time period? Or are you just looking to find something truly unique? Taking the time to outline your specific goals will help direct your efforts, and give you something you can talk about with your jeweler.
- Do your research. One of the few downsides of vintage jewelry is that the sheer number of options you have can be overwhelming. You can make things easier on yourself by doing your research in advance, learning about the different styles and trends that have emerged in the past. Ideally, you’ll have a handful of ideas before you even start shopping.
- Set your budget. Vintage jewelry can range from affordable to exorbitant, even if it’s usually worth the price. You’ll want to make your engagement ring an investment, but you also don’t want to financially ruin yourself in the process. Think carefully about your budget, and set a firm upper limit before you start shopping.
- Shop around. Finding the right vintage engagement ring requires you to shop at many different places, including both physical jewelry stores and online marketplaces. There are countless options to choose from, and you’ll expose yourself to a wider variety by reviewing a bigger number of sources.
- Be patient. Finally, try to be patient. Finding a “perfect” vintage ring can sometimes be harder than customizing one of your own or settling for a modern ring. You may need to look at hundreds, or even thousands of options before you find something you love.
It’s going to take time to find the perfect ring, especially if you already have something in mind. However, if you keep an open mind and continue reviewing your vintage engagement ring options, eventually you’ll find something that suits your relationship, your partner, and your budget perfectly. If you find yourself stuck, consider getting help. You can talk to a jeweler about customizing a ring from scratch, or even talk to your partner directly to learn more about what they’re looking for in a ring.