When it comes to engagement rings, “vintage” seems to be the word on everybody’s lips and the style on everybody’s fingers. Storied, stunning and romantic; vintage and vintage-style engagement rings are the best choice for brides looking a ring filled with history.
Why Choose a Vintage Engagement Ring?
Vintage engagement rings are romantic, original and boast a powerful “wow-factor.” Packed with historical significance, they are an ideal choice for brides who feel like they were born in the wrong era.
Going vintage also means that you will have a thoroughly unique ring that allows you to set yourself apart from the crowd. These rings are full of character and are often appealing because of their unusual centre stones, period craftsmanship, and particular setting or techniques.
It’s no wonder therefore that so many celebrities and style icons such as Scarlett Johannson, Mary Kate Olson and Penelope Cruz have opted for beautiful vintage styles.
What Are Vintage Engagement Rings And How Are They Different From Antique Rings?
While the terms “vintage” and “antique” are often used interchangeably to describe older jewellery, there is a clear difference between them. To qualify as “vintage,” the engagement ring needs to date back to somewhere within the last 50 to 100 years. Antique engagement rings, on the other hand, must be at least 100 years old.
Examples of Popular Vintage Engagement Ring Styles
An ideal choice for brides who yearn to travel back to the effortless elegance and joie de vivre of the jazz age, the Art Deco style dates back to the Roaring Twenties.
Art Deco engagement rings typically favour sharp geometric shapes, bold and bright colours, and ornamental designs. They often feature a big gem which is beautifully showcased by a solitaire or a dramatic halo setting. In terms of stone shapes, vintage cuts to look for include emerald, Asscher and marquis.
2. Classic Hollywood Style Engagement Rings (1950s)
If your style icons are the Hollywood glamazons of old such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, you may want to opt for a classic 1950s engagement ring. Characterised by an abundance of gemstones set in flashy, dramatic designs; rings from the 1950s are the epitome of old-school glamour.
Jewellery trends from the 1950s reflected the affluent post-war society, with jewellers making use of previously scarce materials such as platinum and diamonds. Following the enormously influential 1947 De Beer’s “Diamonds Are Forever” campaign, diamonds became the only stone to have and by the 1960s around 80% of all brides sported a diamond engagement ring.
Brides of this era eschewed round cuts in favour of Asscher cuts, Emerald Cuts and Marquise cuts. One of the most enduring designs of this era is a large centre diamond with baguettes on either side of it.
3. Engagement Rings from The Swinging 60s
“Big Girls need big diamonds.” – Elizabeth Taylor
The Mad Men era saw engagement ring design become bigger and bolder. At the beginning of the decade, first lady Jackie Kennedy’s diamond and emerald engagement ring influenced many brides to incorporate coloured gemstones, such as emeralds and sapphires, into their rings. Elizabeth Taylor popularised the “more is more” look with her iconic 33-carat Asscher-cut diamond engagement ring from controversial fiancé Richard Burton. The 1960s also saw the invention of the princess cut and the eternity band; both of which still enjoy enormous popularity today.
Finding the perfect engagement ring can be overwhelming, so narrow down your search by reading up on vintage styles. Research engagement rings from different eras and try to identify if there’s a particular style that resonates with you.
2. Consider The Durability Of The Gemstone
Ask yourself if you intend to wear your engagement ring every day? If so, choose a ring set with a gemstone that can withstand daily wear and tear. • Durable gemstones: diamond, sapphire, ruby, cubic zirconia • Less durable gemstones include: pearls, opals, tanzanite
It’s also a good idea to check that the stones are properly set and will not become loose in the ring.
3. Ask Yourself If A Vintage Ring Would Suit Your Lifestyle
If appearance is your main motivation, you may want to consider opting for a vintage-style ring instead. Vintage rings can be fragile and often require a lot of TLC, modern rings are far more durable and are less likely to be damaged by everyday use.