Engagement Rings – Vintage Inspired Vs Pre-Worn

Edwardian Period Inspired Engagement Ring with Milgrain Edge

What would you prefer? A new Vintage style ring, or a Pre-Worn ring design. 

Consider the following details before answering this. There are quite a few things to keep in mind. Personal circumstances greatly affect the decision of receiving a true vintage engagement ring over a brand new design.

True Vintage – Inherited

We have already discussed ‘true vintage’ and ‘newly styled vintage’ in wedding rings. The first consideration is that a true vintage engagement ring was once worn by a previous owner. The ring was purchased or made for another person. Consider for a moment that this other person was a grandparent, or great grandparent or even a parent, and the degree of sentiment becomes very poignant. In such circumstances jewellery is very often passed down through the family, creating a very strong emotional connection with the ring. Such rings are rarely purchased, but handed down through generations. On a slightly negative note, many inherited engagement rings are either unsuitable by style, or not to the liking of the recipient. In such instances, there is a demand for existing metal and stones to be incorporated into alternative designs. We recently re-set a Victorian cut diamond from the engagement ring of a client’s grandmother, into a new ring design. The sentiment of an inherited diamond was passed on through the engagement ring, with the styling of a more modern ring.

True Vintage – Purchased

There are many specialist jewellers selling genuine antique or vintage engagement rings. Buyers need to be aware that old cut diamonds can be re-set into newer ring mounts that are unworn, giving the finished ring a vintage feel. Antique rings may carry wear that affects the security of the diamond, so ensure that the setting does not require re-tipping. General wear, and condition should suggest whether the mount is new or genuinely antique. Antique diamond rings are often set with Old Cut diamonds with large Culets and smaller diamonds will possibly be Single Cut or Rose Cut. Ask if there is any original paperwork such as a diamond certificate, and identify any markings within the metal that might indicate the exact precious metal and age of the setting.

New Vintage

New vintage is a term we use. At first glance the term appears to be a contradiction. It relates to brand new rings manufactured in styles that mimic the designs of classic Vintage periods, such as Edwardian, Art Deco and Victorian ages. Art Deco designs will be far simpler. Strong simple shapes became popular, following the intricate detail of the Edwardian Period. Take our three stone Art Deco design as one example. A very simple design, incorporating the popular Deco fan shape, seen throughout this period. Compare this to the elegant detail of R1D012S (above) with intricate diamond detail set between milgrain edging. There are a few advantages of brand new ring designs, including the following reasons.

Advantages of New Vintage

The ring is brand new and purchased for that person

New technology provides crisp detail in modern castings

Precision diamond setting techniques encourage a perfect finish

Modern cut diamonds produce greater fire, with greater symmetry and proportions

No thinning or wear upon the ring at the point of purchase

Alternative choices

There is an alternative of combining new and true vintage within a single item. If a client decides to ask us for a finished vintage ring mount, to accommodate an inherited Old Cut diamond, this would best suit a Vintage design. The styling details will balance beautifully with the older diamond cut. The advantages of a pristine new ring mount, combined with the sentiment of an inherited diamond mean that this is likely to be a popular choice for some people.

Further considerations

On a final note, considering cost, the advantage of an heirloom item of jewellery makes perfect sense. For a couple starting their lives together, saving money by engagement with an existing ring makes perfect sense. The only drawback to this tends to be design, size of stone etc. The ring might hold great sentimental value, but not all rings are suitable for the newly intended recipient.

So our final question is which would you choose and why? Tell us why below.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website.

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