Antique Engagement Rings – What Makes Them So Fascinating?

Antique and Vintage-Inspired Engagement Rings

Life takes on an exciting journey with a proposal made (if the answer is YES, of course!). And what sentimental token etches those special moments for eternity is an engagement ring. No exaggeration, but an engagement ring is the most beloved and precious jewelry piece a woman gets in her entire life. The wedding ring matches up close, but the engagement ring always takes precedence.  

For something as unique, it must reflect the wearer’s personality. Pick a design aesthetic that appeals to your visual sensibilities: classic, contemporary, vintage, art deco, and more.

Antique engagement rings are unique. Not only do they become a part of your love story, but their long-held history also adds a profound dimension of intrigue and romance. That said, antique engagement rings are not just ordinary jewelry. They traverse through ages, having had a past and a future once you pass them on to your generations! By definition, an antique engagement ring is a ring that is 20-99 years old. That is quite some age!

What Makes an Engagement Ring Antique?

Antique engagement rings are ‌timeless. However, it’s important to know how to identify an antique engagement ring. Antiques can be challenging, especially regarding value and rarity.

A ring must be crafted in the past to be authentically antique. Contrary to common belief, an antique ring does not have to be 100-150 years old. A ring as aged as 20 years is also classified as antique jewelry.

You can find authentic antique engagement rings at estate sales or as family heirlooms passed on from generation to generation. But there is a difference between antique, estate, and vintage engagement rings. These terms are often used loosely and interchangeably, but there is a marked difference. An estate engagement ring is a valuable pre-owned ring, regardless of when it was bought. An antique engagement ring is about 20 or more years old, reflecting the particular era’s design and elemental nuances. A vintage or vintage-inspired engagement ring is a modern creation designed to reflect inspirations from ancient times.  

Keep reading as we unravel more about these rings, their value and worth, and how to take care of these prized assets.

Let’s begin with unveiling unique characteristics of a true antique engagement ring.


The general design, pattern, and ornamentation of a ring indicate its manufacturing period. Each era’s jewelry reflects the distinctive style of that era. For instance, Victorian-era rings have more feminine and elaborate patterns, while jewelry from the Edwardian era includes delicate filigree and gorgeous milgrain.

Learn about the themes, styles, and decorations that were popular throughout that era if you’re seeking a certain type of ring from that period.

White Gold Engagement Ring
  • CUT

Diamond cuts we see today draw their inspiration from bygone eras. Different centuries and generations favored different cuts of diamonds and gems. So, to recognize if the ring you are holding is genuinely antique, i.e., ages old, check the cut it is using. Did you know that the antique old-mine diamonds were all cut by hand individually? They were not just morphed into any shape; the rough diamond’s original shape determined what shape it would be cut and faceted into.  


While today’s diamonds are mostly preferred for their sparkles, the diamonds of antiquity were less flashy. Furthermore, antique diamond engagement rings sometimes have a little rose, green, or yellow hue.

Antique vs. Vintage vs. Vintage Inspired: The Differences

Anything you buy- from household items to jewelry pieces- can be plotted on a timeline based on when it was manufactured. It is often the age of an item that adds value to it and makes it unique. “Vintage”, and “antique” are some ‌terms we use to label the age of objects. However, these terms do not stand for similar meanings. But which term stands for what?

According to the criteria, items that have been around for at least 100 years and were initially made for practical use are considered antiques. They were built to last longer than their contemporary equivalents.

Rules are, however, not entirely stringent for defining vintage items. They may not necessarily be as older as antiques, but they are still manufactured using the same materials and techniques as the latter.

“Vintage inspired” is distinct from these two. These items are similar to vintages but are neither true antique nor vintage. They adopt a more contemporary approach to making items that look vintage. These products are frequently handmade, and some even feature antique-inspired details.

Vintage or Antique Engagement Rings

Why Are Antique Engagement Rings So Appealing?

Antique engagement rings are beautiful pieces of history that symbolize love, commitment, and devotion to a special someone. They are time-honored, and their appeal has lasted decades; they look downright stunning if you ask us. One attribute that makes antique engagement rings so singular and appealing is their history. They are laden with stories and carry the rich heritage of their times well into the present day. Each antique jewelry piece has stories to tell!

But it is not just their background; there is more to their unsurpassable charm. Let’s find out below:

●     The Enduring Beauty

In the realm of engagement rings, there are countless varieties to choose from – halos, modern silhouettes, solitaires, bezels, and so many more. However, when you choose an antique engagement ring, you’re selecting a design distinguished by the romantic eras, sparkling accents, wavy designs, and stunning shapes. An antique engagement ring has a particular aesthetic that cannot be disputed or compromised.

●     Living History

Engagement Rings have been in tradition since ancient times, meaning there are engagement rings as old as 200 years and even more. Early civilizations wore them as symbols of love and commitment; to date, they continue to symbolize those emotions. When you choose an antique engagement ring, you don’t just buy jewelry; you purchase an irreplaceable piece of history.

●     The Classic Look

Connoisseurs and lovers of classic style strongly gravitate towards antique engagement rings for their timelessness. Unquestionably, classics never go out of style. Their shapes, cuts, patterns, and designs stand true to the era they belong to. And yes, no two antique engagement rings are ever the same. So, despite their exorbitant costs, these singular rings are worth the money.

●     Glamorous Vibe

Anything antique gives an overall look a dash of glitz. Similarly, antique engagement rings conjure up glitzy eras from the past. These ornate and exquisite rings reminiscence visions of extravagant Breakfast at Tiffany’s overtones, Great Gatsby events, and other exotic events.

●     The Different Setting

They just don’t make things the way they used to.” – and the same goes for engagement rings. The ancient artisans were adept at their skill, and their eye for detail and intricacy stays unparalleled. There cannot be an exact replication of that flawless craftsmanship, be it the delicate filigree on Victorian rings or the opulent elegance of the Art Deco era. Contemporary designs are stunning, but the old world’s charm has its appeal.

●     Durability

Although diamonds do last a lifetime, the ring’s detailing may lose its sharpness after a while. But with antique rings, the situation is different. These rings are extremely sturdy because they have endured the test of time. However, it is always a good idea to examine the ring’s general “wearable condition” before making a purchase.

Are Antique Engagement Rings Cheaper?

In a true sense, buying a true antique ring means getting your hands on a second-hand ring, though a highly precious one! So, theoretically, the price of these rings should be lower. Additionally, the price of new diamonds is higher than that of older ones (30 percent and more), which further increases the affordability of antique rings. However, the ring’s historical and cultural worth is what increases its cost. Antique engagement rings can also have emotional significance, making them priceless. Therefore, the price of the antique engagement ring you want to buy depends on its uniqueness and value. But they are definitely lesser prized than their contemporary counterparts with similar diamond and metal compositions. 

Keeping Antique Engagement Rings in a Good Condition: The Tips

Whether your partner purchased an antique engagement ring to propose or you inherited one, you must know how to take care of it. Here are some basic tips to keep your antique ring looking beautiful and elegant.

– Remove your ring before any cleaning activity or taking a shower.

– Keep perfume, deodorant, and other chemicals away from your antique ring.

– Give your ring a bath of warm water and liquid soap occasionally. Use a very gentle toothbrush to scrub the surface delicately.

– Take the ring to a jeweler for a bi-annual cleaning and maintenance.

– If dropped, never pick up your antique ring by the center stone, instead by the ring’s band.

Pros and Cons of Antique Engagement Rings

Antique engagement rings unquestionably offer incredible beauty and distinctive characteristics. Before making your purchase, review the pros and cons to see if it is the best choice for you.


– Unique

– Remarkably beautiful

– Highly valuable

– Exude personal style preference

– Often come cheaper


– Older stones could be dull.

– Can demand additional upkeep and cleaning

– The long history of antique rings testifies their strength. But as time goes

on, their durability may diminish.

– Finding a matching wedding band can be an issue.

If Not Real Antique, Can One Go for Antique or Vintage-Inspired Rings?

Not every jeweler houses antique engagement rings, owing to their niche accessibility. Research about the jeweler you are buying it from or only rely on a coveted jewelry brand whom you can trust for their word. What if you are unable to find a genuine antique engagement ring? What can you do? Well, in that case, choose to purchase vintage-inspired rings. At Gabriel & Co., we manufacture a wide array of unique vintage-inspired rings for couples who love old and classics! Although these rings are not age-old, their designs and manufacturing techniques draw inspiration from antique and vintage rings.

Our collections offer the flavors of bygone eras, including the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, and so on.

No two antique engagement rings in our collection are identical, making the entire product line unique and appealing.  

Note: We only sell engagement ring settings that do not include the center stone. It is to be purchased from the retailer separately.

Our Word:

What do you think of antique engagement rings? Do they merit the adulation? We respond with a big YES if asked! Antique engagement rings are heirlooms in the making and are totally worth the buzz. Inspired by these rings, the house of Gabriel & Co. offers a range of rings that excel in quality and value. Look through our selection to find your favorite engagement ring with an antique flair that you can treasure forever.

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