Diamonds are a lady’s best friend. Antique engagement rings are classy, full of history – each with their own individual story, and can symbolize the timeless love that two people have for each other.
So if I’m looking to find a nice ring, or I have a client interested in vintage jewelry, here’s 5 things that I’m going to be looking for.
Antique Engagement Rings
1. Know Your Diamonds
The first thing that a ring enthusiast should look for is the quality of the diamond. I’m talking about the 4 C’s:
- Cut – Measures the man-made facets of the stone. Antique diamonds, being cut by hand, will usually rank lower on this scale, so keep that in mind.
- Clarity – The absence of blemishes and inclusions. An inclusion is a small imperfection of the internal part of the diamond. These inclusions are graded by professionals at 10x magnification.
- Carat – Weight. A one carat rock is going to weigh 200 mg. The higher the carat, the more the gem will weigh.
- Color – Ranked from D to Z – whiter diamonds have closer to a D rating and the more yellow the stone is, the closer it will be to a Z.
Antique engagement rings have eras just the same as other antiques, with the Victorian Era being the most widely known and also stretching the longest period of time.
Each era has its own popular motifs, styles, cuts, and gems.
Platinum, as an example, has been around for longer than most people think. So don’t assume that a platinum ring cannot be an antique.
Several styles cross over into different eras. Jewelry, like most things, has styles that come and go and come back.
3. Know Your Cuts
Styles come and go with era, so being able to identify a gem cut will give me a great idea of how old the piece is that I’m looking to identify.
- Rose Cut – Early cut, 1500s, made a comeback in the 1800s. Round shape with a flat bottom, dome top, not many facets.
- Old European Cut – Round, faceted shape. Often used in the 1900s, influence behind the modern brilliant cut.
- Step Cut – Used from the 1800s to present day. Rectangular in shape with long facets.
- Old Mine Cut – Popular from the 1800s to the early 1900s. Rounded square shape often containing more facets than other cuts of the era.
4. Maker’s Marks
This may sound absurd, but even rings have maker’s marks. While the general practice was common for thousands of years, you would think that a ring would be too small to have one.
However, they’re one of the best ways to decipher the history of a piece.
While it’s impossible to memorize every mark, an esteemed antique jeweler should be able to, at the very least, put you on the right path to identifying who created this art.
5. Wear and Tear
Wear and tear, depending on just how much is present, could devalue a piece of jewelry. However, the lack of any wear should be a red flag. It could easily be a clever fake. If the wear is enough to devalue the merchandise, consider having it restored or repaired to increase the potential ROI.
If you’re in Florida and have any questions regarding your antique jewelry, attending an upcoming estate sale, or having one of your own, contact us to see what we can do for you.