Engagement Ring
Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Engagement_Ring_Memphis.jpg

Before She Says Yes

Finding the perfect engagement ring can be a daunting task when you know exactly what your fiancé-to-be wants and virtually impossible when you are clueless. The task can become infinitely more difficult if she wants a vintage engagement ring. Vintage? What’s that? This article will not make you an expert on this topic, but it will give you a starting point to launch your search.

Vintage defined

What exactly does a vintage engagement ring mean? Does it just mean really, really old? Or is it a particular style? Actually, it can be both. Generally, it just means “old fashioned” and can be a legitimately old or a reproduction.  Other terms such as antique or estate may also come up in your search. Antique typically indicates a ring which is 50+ years old or greater. Estate jewelry typically is between one and fifty years old, and probably have a single owner. If you’re looking for an antique engagement ring, ensure you get it appraised; if you are just looking for a reproduction that’s okay too, but do not pay a higher price just because you think it is antique. Once you narrow down the age you want to buy, you need to research the style.

Victorian engagement rings

Victorian engagement rings are intended to replicate jewelry from the Victorian Era. These are usually characterized by extravagance and typically incorporate elements of nature into the design. Additionally, they are typically intricate in design and frequently integrate large stones.

Art Nouveau and Art Deco engagement rings

Art Nouveau engagement rings are similar in design to Art Deco rings, however there are some clear differences to help you tell them apart. Art Nouveau is distinguished by soft curves. Like Victorian engagement rings, they may also incorporate elements of nature. Art Deco rings are different from Art Nouveau through their shape. Art Deco engagement rings have strong shapes vice the soft curves of Art Nouveau jewelry. Additionally, Art Deco jewelry is shaped with symmetry in mind. Emeralds are frequently displayed in these due to their symmetrical look when cut. Though this touches on the various styles of engagement rings, there are some basics which you need to understand as well.

Seeing is believing

Sometimes trying to understand the various styles just from a text description can be extremely difficult. Below is a video to help you visually recognize some of the styles discussed above. A variety of sources are available on the internet to help you filter through the various styles, however this short video will key you in on some of the characteristics of the styles previously mentioned.

Vintage engagement ring styles

Engagement Ring Basics

How much should I spend?

Conventional wisdom concerning the purchase of an engagement ring says would be courtiers should spend approximately two month’s salary on their fiancé’s bling. Guys should budget and spend what makes sense to their personal financial situation and not bow to conventional norms if it does not fit their lifestyle. Aim for getting the highest quality possible for your dollar, but try not to overshoot. Starting off a marriage deep in debt is no way to celebrate her saying “yes”!

Two important characteristics

The two basic characteristics to engagement rings are the setting and the diamond. Buyers should focus on finding the best setting first. Platinum, palladium as well as a variety of gold settings make for a spectrum of setting choices. Platinum is on the high end of the setting spectrum. It is tough, hypoallergenic and expensive. 18K and 14K gold settings reside in the middle of the spectrum and are more apt to scratch than platinum. Palladium falls on the low end of the setting spectrum, is generally less expensive and more conducive to scratching.

Diamonds - A girl's best friend

The diamond, by far the most eye catching aspect of an engagement ring, can come in a variety of shapes, sizes and qualities. Round, princess, emerald, asscher, marquise, oval, radiant, pear, heart and cushion are all types of shapes diamonds can be found in. The particular shape you choose will be dependent on the setting you have chosen and your fiancé’s particular taste. The diamond size is a matter of both budget and taste. Diamonds can range in size from half a carat to multiple carats in size. Again, your budget is going to drive your choice on the size of diamond. Ensure, however, you do not buy a diamond too big nor small for the setting you have chosen. A wrong sized diamond will make for an awkward setting. The last aspect of the diamond you need to consider is the quality. The quality of a diamond is determined by the four C’s:  Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat. Each of these aspects discussed alone could be the topic of an individual article. There are a variety of guides on the web describing the spectrum of each of these four C’s and I suggest you take the time to learn the intricacies of each prior to making a purchasing decision. Your guiding principle when researching should be finding a balance between what fits best into your budget and what meets your fiancé’s desires.

Putting It All Together

Looking for a vintage ring can be more difficult than a “typical” ring. However, if you can determine the style which best fits your budget and which diamond works with the setting you have chosen, you can find the perfect ring. You should set aside ample time to do your due diligence concerning your purchase. Of course, finding the perfect vintage engagement ring should not put you in the poor house, so when searching for the perfect ring to get her to say “yes” ensure you are not breaking the bank in the process.