Vintage clothing. Vintage vinyl. Vintage furniture. All of these things are having a renaissance as people rediscover that older pieces have an undeniable class, cool, or ‘je ne sais quoi’ about them. The very same goes for jewelry, especially engagement rings. As people expand their knowledge and their tastes, we’re seeing more and more purchasers turn to older styles of jewelry in order to both express themselves and propose to their partners.
So what do we mean by vintage engagement rings? Where can you find such items? In this guide, we’ll show some of our favorite examples, plus tell you where you can get your hands on all this vintage goodness.
Finding actually vintage rings can be difficult. The ones you may find will most likely be showing their age, and the ones that don’t will usually have a massive price tag. Actual high-quality vintage engagement rings are very rare, so I wouldn’t get your hopes up about purchasing one. However, you can find modern pieces that accurately capture that vintage look and feel, all the while being safe in the knowledge that a) the item will be affordable, and b) it won’t fall apart.
The term ‘vintage’ itself is too wide to be properly defined, but we’d argue it’s anything that is either older than 50 years, or has the same kind of style as engagement rings from earlier decades. For example, a modern vintage engagement ring might include fine details such as miligrain or filigree.
While this 18k White Gold Elegant Petals Diamond Engagement Ring is evidently a modern ring, its use of filigree lends it a turn-of-the-century feel. Image credit: Whiteflash
Other vintage finds include two-tone scalloped rings or rings with rose gold halos, like the 14K Rose Gold Regal Frame Diamond Engagement Ring from James Allen below—a truly stunning example that would look at home adorning the finger of a princess of one of the old European nation-states.
Image credit: James Allen
To keep things simple, when we mean ‘vintage engagement rings’, we actually mean ‘vintage-style’, because it’s much safer to purchase engagement rings that are new, and built with the modern techniques that ensure integrity over time. So where can you find modern-built vintage style engagement rings?
Whiteflash are one of our favorite diamond jewelry retailers. Because they offer designs from multiple top-quality, world-renowned designers, you’re actually spoilt for choice when it comes to finding engagement rings that are imbued with a vintage feel. Take this 18k White Gold Delicate Blush Diamond Engagement Ring for example.
Image credit: Whiteflash
It was often the case in old jewelry that more than one metal type was used. In this engagement ring, white and rose gold has been paired to create a harmonious and regal effect, but without being garish. With a combination of a Round Brilliant diamond melee and a Princess Cut diamond melee, this ring is the perfect example of where vintage influence meets modern crafting capabilities.
To find out more about why you should purchase from Whiteflash, read our review here.
Not only are James Allen an incredibly well-respected purveyor of find diamond jewelry, they’re also notable because they have a specific part of their website dedicated purely to vintage engagement rings. The designs you’ll come across on this page will truly captivate you.
Image credit: James Allen
One engagement ring that immediately caught our eye was this 14K White Gold Swirling Oval Shape Halo Engagement Ring. It’s the kind of ring you can genuinely imagine gracing the finger of aristocratic French royalty—ornate, complex, and staggeringly beautiful. This ring features and overlapping pavé swirl halo complimented by small floral detailing to provide a sense of organic drama to the piece. With a vintage engagement ring like this, you’ll never have to worry about lacking fire or sparkle.
Read our review of James Allen and why you should buy your diamond engagement rings from them here.
Last but not least are Blue Nile, who also boast their own vintage section on their site, promising ‘heirloom-quality beauty’. Their prices are very competitive, with the best thing about this being absolutely no sacrifice in the overall quality of the jewelry created. Another benefit for buyers is the high-quality imagery and information available on each item’s page.
Image credit: Blue Nile
Their vintage designs are not to turn your nose up at. Marvel at this Realeza Three-Stone Milgrain Diamond Engagement Ring, an incredibly beautiful example of a vintage-style engagement ring. With a beautiful center stone, the ring is decorated with intricate miligrain detail and pavé-set diamonds that glitter along the shank. It’s a stunning ring, perfect for a loved one who has a penchance for vintage items.
When looking for a vintage engagement ring, there are a number of things you need to consider:
Diamond retailers are easy to come by, but can be hard to trust. A lot of them aren’t looking to give you a good deal, but are looking to unload poor quality diamonds onto unsuspecting customers. However, we’ve already provided three for you to peruse. A good diamond retailer offers the following:
To discover more worthy diamond retailers, explore our reviews section.
Brilliance occurs when the cut of a diamond has been done incredibly well, so if you find one with and Excellent or Ideal cut grade, you’re more than likely to be blown away by the sparkle and light performance. However, always check if the diamond you’re looking at has 4k video or HD imagery to prove just how well it shines (if you can’t see it in person).
A true antique ring may not have an accompanying certificate to ratify its light performance, so being able to actually see the diamond it has is of utmost importance.
Clarity is incredibly important when it comes to diamonds. If the diamond you’re considering isn’t eye-clean, it’s not worth purchasing. Reputable diamond sellers will include the clarity grading in the diamond description, alongside either the AGS or GIA documentation that proves that (which should include the clarity plot graph).
Diamonds that are graded VS2 or higher will almost always be eye-clean, but you can find eye-clean diamonds in grades such as SI1 or SI2 (but it’s much, much harder). Remember, if it’s not eye-clean, not only will it look bad, it will also have a lesser ability to sparkle and shine.
If you’re buying from a reputable seller, such as Whiteflash, James Allen, or Blue Nile, you don’t have to worry about the quality of the setting. However, with a true vintage engagement ring, you may want to check that the gemstone is secure and that the metal has not degraded in any way.
We would recommend buying from one of the previously mentioned sellers as they are able to provide the documentation that proves the quality of the manufacturing. On top of that, they work with verified, experienced designers who have years of experience in creating the best, most durable rings.
It goes without saying that, without AGS or GIA documentation, you probably shouldn’t buy a gemstone. The certificate is proof that the diamond is what the seller says it is, providing clarity about carat weight, color, cut, and clarity itself.
The simple answer is, there’s nothing stopping you! However, like any significant purchase, you should not rush into it. Do you research, take your time, weigh up your options—and make sure you follow the instructions in the previous section.
You can read our reviews of these three diamond giants in our review section.