"Let us not be too particular; it is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all."
And don't we all agree?
Antique engagement rings have become all the rage in recent years, particularly with famous brides like Madonna, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Camilla Parker-Bowles all sporting vintage-inspired engagement rings.
We have the Victorians to thank for introducing
diamond engagement rings as THE ring to wear and many of those early designs are now being copied and updated for today's modern
fiancée. But before you rush out and buy that to-die-for antique engagement ring, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Tips for choosing an antique engagement ring
The settings used in the manufacture of modern engagement rings are very different from those used last century. Antique settings often involved fine filigree work and delicate designs that weren't meant for much wear-and-tear.
These delicate settings will have become even more delicate over time and there's many a story about the starry-eyed soon-to-be-bride who has been heartbroken when her precious antique engagement ring proved even more precious than she had thought.
If you want a genuine vintage engagement ring make sure you have it assessed by a qualified jeweler so that any damage can be corrected and the settings strengthened. You may even need to have the stone or stones re-mounted.
Diamond cuts have also changed dramatically over the years. Contemporary diamond cutters use modern faceting techniques to show a diamond off at its brilliant best. Although a diamond will sparkle even when its been poorly cut, don't expect the same razzle-dazzle you see today from the diamonds in antique engagement rings.
Also keep in mind that antique engagement rings were often made with stones that don't stand the test of time. Turquoise is a gem to steer clear of because it has a nasty reputation for discoloration. As do pearls, which lose their sheen and opals, which will gradually wear away.
Another thing to be wary of is that lesser-quality garnets were often marketed as rubies in vintage engagement rings, so be sure to have your ring valued if you badly want a ruby-red engagement ring.
An antique engagement ring is not a ring you can wear every day in our rough-and-tumble world, but it's preciousness makes it a treasure that, with the right care, will give you pleasure every day for a lifetime.
About the Author:
Alex Miller has been involved in the jewelry industry for more years than she cares to remember! She lists her passions as "diamonds, diamonds and more diamonds" and has turned her passion into an informative website. You can find more great articles about diamonds, engagement rings, bridal jewelry, honeymoons and more at
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