Estate Diamond Engagement Rings
Factors to consider when buying a Diamond Engagement Ring:
This really should be your first consideration. I use the analogy for diamond shopping like car shopping. If you are in the market for a new car and your budget is $30k there is no point in visiting your local Ferrari dealership. The same applies to diamonds. Pick a solid budget you are comfortable with and stay within it. Estate jewelers will have diamond rings that will fit all budgets.
Look at their other jewelry. Are the pieces mostly made of white gold, yellow gold, or rose? Does he or she prefer vintage pieces, modern designs, Art Noveau, or Art Deco? If the locals are sporting the same 1 or 2 carat round six-prong solitaire and your girlfriend doesn’t want to look like she’s engaged to your buddies - go vintage. These pieces are romantic, original, and have the wow-factor to turn heads and stand out...dare to be different! Most of the time, buying vintage and antique engagement rings offer more value than buying brand new. As lovely and unique as they are, these rings are still considered second hand pieces and someone else has already paid for the advertising, middle men, and any custom work performed. Exceptions to this would be Edwardian or period deco mounts or signed pieces such as Tiffany or Cartier.
Different periods to consider:
Georgian (1714-1837) – Georgian jewelry is often composed of a high-karat gold or silver and common stones include foil-backed diamonds, topaz, and garnet. Jewelry from this era is very hard to find.
Victorian (1837-1901) – The Victorian era is split between the Romantic, Grand, and Aesthetic periods. The styles during the three sub-periods differ quite drastically and jewelry from the latter periods is much easier to get your hands on. Generally, stones in this era included garnets, amethysts, turquoise, pearls, and diamonds.
Edwardian (1895-1915) – Jewelry from this period has clean lines similar to those from the Art Nouveau Era (info below). It usually incorporates a more traditional and delicate motif from the Victorian Era. Platinum, diamonds and pearls are among the most used materials.
Art Nouveau (1890-1910) – Jewelry from this era is also referred to as Arts & Crafts, Jugendstil and others depending on the country of origin. The designs tend to be flowery, draping and very delicate!
Art Deco (1920-1940) – Art Deco design is geometrical, angular and clean (you’ll see architecture with the Art Deco vibe too). Emeralds, rubies and sapphires tend to be used the most. Designers also commonly worked with jade, onyx, and enamel set in platinum.
3. Online vs. Brick and Mortars Jewelry Stores
We at Michele's Estate Jewelry typically will provide GIA grading certificates so that you have the peace of mind you are getting what you are buying. Diamond experts often site the “Four Cs” (color, cut, clarity, and carat), but certificate grading should be just one of the many factors in your decision-making. The grade can serve as a starting point, but should not be the sole determining factor, every stone has it's own message to the eye. Shopping locally allows you to see the ring in person and try it on before buying.
Buying an Estate Diamond Engagement Ring
Estate jewelry has grown in popularity largely because antique shows that draw attention to the possibility of finding something rare or valuable (or both). Estate engagement rings can be more cost-effective than new ones and comes with history.
If you are planning on purchasing an estate engagement ring please come see our inventory of period estate jewelry at Michele’s.
Specialized estate jewelers have a wealth of knowledge and can tell a good bit of the history of the time when a piece was made, even if they cannot tell you too much about the piece’s history. You can always ask if they know the history behind different pieces, as they may have some background history if they were provided that at the time they purchased the pieces.
Finally, know that estate jewelry is available at all price points. It all depends on your style, the type of estate jewelry you’re seeking, and its value.