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The Unique Beauty and Sentiment of the Antique Engagement Ring

May 2, 2015
Home / The Vault / The Unique Beauty and Sentiment of the Antique Engagement Ring

Well, it worked on me. My husband offered me a very pretty 18k white-gold diamond and blue-sapphire ring, with a combination of fine filigree and engraving. It was beautiful, surely, but I loved him and so I said yes. It wasn't long before I was in love with the antique wedding ring and since then, I've been singing the praises of the value, beauty and unique nature of an antique ring. Sure, they say Yes to the Dress on television, but in real life, she'll say a resounding yes! when you present her with an antique ring.

Miranda Sings

Consider popular YouTube personality Colleen Ballinger, who recently took her wildly popular Miranda Sings character on tour throughout Australia and New Zealand. She and fellow YouTuber Joshua Evans (aka JoshuaTV) will be married this summer, but got engaged last year in an elaborate production filmed on and for YouTube, of course (to watch it, search The Proposal: Joshua and Colleen). Evans presented Ballinger with an antique family ring given to him by his grandmother.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson's marriage to Ryan Reynolds may not have worked out but she's not letting any grass grow on her feet. When she got engaged to her baby daddy Romain Dauriac, he proposed in September 2013 with a gorgeous vintage, Art Deco-period engagement ring. According to Instyle.com, the ring features three large, round diamonds, surrounded by a diamond-encrusted rectangular setting.

Adam Levine

The Voice and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine and South African model Behati Prinsloo were married in July 2014 but a year earlier when they were engaged, he gave her a vintage 1930s round-cut diamond engagement ring. And romantic that he apparently is, Levine actually got down on one knee to propose.

Alexis Bledel

Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser proposed to former Gilmore Girl Mad Men co-star Alexis Bledel with a delicate vintage octagonal diamond ring.

Kate Middleton

It may not be conventionally vintage but Kate Middleton's ring originally belonged to Prince William's mother, the late Princess Diana. The ring features an 18-carat blue sapphire surrounded by 16 diamonds in a cluster setting engagement ring. It is an antique a modern antique, but vintage, nonetheless.

Peaches Geldof

The late Peaches Geldof's engagement ring belonged to her grandmother. The ring, a cushion-pave diamond setting was described by Geldof in her Twitter announcement as a hearts-and-arrows round.

Prince Charles

Given that her beloved has plenty of access to all kinds of vintage jewels, it's unsurprising that Prince Charles presented his all-time sweetheart Camilla Parker-Bowles with an heirloom 8-carat emerald-cut diamond ring flanked by three stair-stepped /bar set tapered baguettes.

Katherine Heigl

Made from half of her mother's platinum band's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl's ring features a pear-shaped diamond, flanked by pave diamond.

Mary Kate Olsen

Hopefully, magazines will stop calling Mary-Kate Olsen's fiancé granddad especially since he reportedly proposed with a 1950s Cartier ring with 4-carats of European-cut diamond surrounded by sapphires.

Penelope Cruz

The very well-suited, no-married couple that is Javier Bardeem and Penelope Cruz became engaged with an antique sapphire ring. The ring was an oval sapphire surrounded by a halo of diamonds in frames that create a flower petal effect

Milla Jovovich

Milla Jovovich wears a 19th-century engagement ring featuring three diamonds, one white, one yellow, and one pale pink, in a distinctive vertical design. It was purchased from jeweller of the stars, Neil Lane.

Emily Blunt

Actress Emily Blunt, star of The Five-Year Engagement had a decidedly shorter engagement to Office star John Krasinski. Krasinki presented Blunt with a stunning Edwardian engagement ring setting featuring a 3-carat diamond.

Kate Moss

Kate Moss engagement ring is reportedly an exact reproduction of one ring that belongs to 1920s icon Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald. She told the story of how she lost it at the Glastonbury Music Festival only to find it several months later at the bottom of her bag. It's believed that she bought the ring at Bond Street Jewellers.

America Ferrara

Ugly Betty star America Ferrara's engagement ring from Ryan Piers Williams was a platinum antique setting to show off the 4-carat round-cut diamond.

A whole host of other celebrities chose vintage-inspired rings. There's no doubt that they didn't go for actual antiques because they wanted to slap on some humungous diamond on it. What they don't realise is that antique rings are very common.

More Common Types of Vintage Wedding Rings

  • Georgian
  • Victorian
  • Edwardian
  • Art Nouveau
  • Art Deco
  • Retro Rings

Actually, it's very difficult to find an authentic Georgian ring, but it's definitely the Holy Grail for collectors. Most Georgian rings are only found in museums and private collections so someone wants to sell you a Georgian ring, think twice.

It's fairly easy to find beautiful quality Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. You'll find rings in white or yellow gold, platinum and even silver.  Rings made before 1854 were made from 18K gold, after 1854 it was legal to manufacture 15-, 12-, and 9/10-carat gold. You'll also find platinum rings. Diamonds became predominant in the late 1800s, but other stones include:

  • Sapphires
  • Amethyst
  • Chalcedony
  • Garnet
  • Ruby
  • Topaz
  • Opal
  • Crystal
  • Emerald
  • Pearl
  • Black Glass
  • Aquamarine
  • Peridot
  • Turquoise
  • Chrysoberyl
  • Agate
  • Jade
  • Mother-of-Pearl
  • Coral
  • Black Opal

Engagement Rings: The Backstory

Just because all your mates have wedding rings now, it doesn't mean it's a long-standing tradition. While evidence of wedding rings dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians, engagement rings didn't come about until the late 19th-century. It was actually the discovery of diamonds in the mines of South Africa, combined with a major discovery of mined gold that sparked the popularity of diamond and gold engagement rings. The betrothal was celebrated with the engagement ring, the wedding and marriage with the bands.

Go for antique and the only answer is yes.

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