How to Choose a High-Quality Vintage Ring

There are many times in life when you’ll have to get a new ring. You might want to propose to your significant other, give a family member a commemorative piece of jewelry or splurge on a ring you’ve been eyeing for a while.

Once you start browsing rings online or in your local jewelry store, you’ll notice the many different styles they come in. You may admire a more substantial stone set in a smaller band or an intricate band design. You should also consider the age of a ring since vintage styles have always been popular for people to get for themselves or their loved ones.

Before you buy a new piece of jewelry, read about how to choose a high-quality vintage ring so you’re well informed about your options. Once you know what to look for, you’ll value vintage rings more and find the perfect one for you or the special person you have in mind.

1. Look for Georgian Rings

Trends come and go in every aspect of life, including jewelry. Pieces from different eras stand out, like choker necklaces from the early 2000s or layered necklaces from the 2010s. Rings also change across the decades, which makes it more interesting to look through collections from centuries past.

Although jewelry has been around for a long time, there are a few different eras to pay attention to regarding what you’ll find in modern collections. The first dates back to Georgian rings, named after the five English kings leading up to Queen Victoria’s reign. 

The earliest vintage rings typically come from the Georgian era, which was from 1714 to 1837. It was influenced by English styles, although France, Italy and Germany added their preferences to the jewelry as well.

Rings from this period will have thin metal designs, closed-back gemstone settings and foil backings. Foil won’t hold up when exposed to water, which is essential to know if you want to wear a Georgian ring of your own.

2. Get a Victorian Period Design

The Victorian period followed the Georgian era, so it built on previous trends. During Queen Victoria’s reign, designers worked through three periods where jewelry changed according to the queen’s tastes. You can find gemstones and diamonds of soft colors cut into hearts and motif designs. Prince Albert used jewelry as romantic gestures towards Queen Victoria to symbolize their unending affection for each other. After he passed away in 1861, she introduced the concept of dark jewelry to match her mourning attire.

3. Search for Art Deco Jewelry

More recent vintage rings appeared on store shelves between 1930-1970, which started the Art Deco period. Jazz music inspired people to be bold and loud with what they wore. Rings featured bright gemstones, geometric patterns and colorful engagement stones. It wasn’t unheard of to propose with a ruby or emerald ring, even as the concept of diamond rings became more mainstream.

4. Check the Ring Band

Because vintage rings have existed for so long, they may have damage to the band. Scrutinize each band and look for scratches or bends. A jeweler may be able to fix some damage, but potentially not all of it. 

The stone setting may become loose over time as well. The prongs can snag on fabric and bend outward, so don’t take home a ring that may lose its diamonds or gemstones. Once you see the ring in person, test the prongs with your fingernails and listen for rattling sounds. They can easily be pushed back into place if the prongs haven’t worn thin with time.

5. Ask About Guarantees

Buying a vintage ring is an investment, which means you might be able to get guarantees to protect your purchase. Ask for a certification of authenticity so you know you’re getting what you pay for. You might also be able to get a money-back guarantee if the ring were to break within a warranty period. It all depends on who you buy the vintage ring from. Don’t be afraid to shop around and see what your options are before making your final decision.

Take Your Time

Whether you want to buy a vintage ring for yourself or your significant other, make sure you know what to look for. Learn about the vintage eras, check out different stores and inspect anything that interests you. You’ll find the best ring that meets your needs and lasts for decades.