Knowledge Centre > Engagement Rings

How to Choose a Vintage Engagement Ring


Tudor table cut diamond ring, circa 1485 1603. Hatton Garden
Tudor table cut diamond ring, circa 1485-1603.
Ref: 27576

If you’re looking at buying engagement rings and want to explore something more spectacular and unique than modern offerings, consider vintage engagement rings. Where each ring isn't just a symbol of love, but a unique piece, always of the highest quality and always with a rich history. 

These timeless pieces offer more than just beauty; they connect you to the artistry and stories of bygone eras. Unlike their modern equivalents, vintage rings bring with them an air of mystery and a personal touch that's as unique as your own love story. 

Let's explore how to find the perfect ring that's not just a jewel, but an exquisite piece of history to cherish forever…

Why Choose a Vintage Engagement Ring?

Opting for a vintage engagement ring is not just about choosing a piece of jewellery; it's about embracing a fragment of history, a story from a bygone era. Our collection includes ancient rings and mediaeval rings to Edwardian rings, 1920’s rings and every era in between, all of which are artefacts of past craftsmanship and elegance you simply do not find in modern pieces today. The intricate designs and handcrafted details of each ring reflect the artistry and skills of jewellers from those times, providing a glimpse into the aesthetic and cultural values of each period.

There are many reasons to choose antique jewellery over modern variations. Unlike modern rings, often produced in bulk with machine conformity, vintage rings bear the marks of individual creation. An engagement ring should be unique and meaningful, not mass produced, the process of buying an engagement ring is more than a simple transaction but an acquisition of a piece of art, that is a symbol of your love and commitment, something that an antique engagement ring perfectly represents. 

Each vintage ring tells its own story, not just in its design but also through the journey it has taken through time. By choosing a vintage engagement ring, you are connecting with a legacy of love stories, celebrations, and histories. It's a chance to own something that has been cherished and passed down, perhaps through generations, adding a layer of depth and sentiment to your engagement.

This historical richness, combined with the unparalleled craftsmanship and distinctiveness of each piece, makes vintage engagement rings a compelling choice for those seeking something more meaningful and unique than the standard offerings of modern jewellery. They are a connection to the past, a touch of nostalgia, and possess a timeless elegance that is rare and precious, much like the love they are meant to symbolise.

Do Vintage Engagement Rings Cost More Than Modern Rings?

In the context of buying an engagement ring, considering the cost is crucial. Vintage rings are not simply old jewellery, but artefacts of history, featuring hand-cut gemstones of a calibre you simply cannot find in modern settings. This uniqueness can influence the price, making each piece a one-of-a-kind investment. The value of vintage engagement rings is therefore rooted in their rarity, craftsmanship, and the stories they embody - aspects that are often absent in modern, machine-made rings. So whilst they tend to be more expensive, they are an investment worth making. 

Engagement Rings Through the Eras

From the bold, streamlined shapes characterising the Art Deco engagement rings, famed for their geometric patterns and lavish embellishments, to the intricate, romantic designs of Victorian era engagement rings, where delicate filigree and floral motifs reigned supreme, the choice is as rich as the stories behind these rings.

In the more recent past, the 1960s and 70s marked a significant revival of yellow gold, a trend that continues to be popular in this modern-day. This period saw a departure from traditional styles, and an embrace towards bolder, more expressive designs that mirrored the dynamic cultural shifts of the time. Our collection includes pieces from all vintage and antique eras, so whatever your taste preferences, you will find buying the perfect unique engagement ring to be a successful endeavour with us. 

Our Engagement Ring Buying Guide

If you have decided you want to propose, but now you’re wondering how to choose an engagement ring, we’ve rounded up our expert tips for finding the best antique engagement ring, from advice on the best place to buy an engagement ring, and how to ensure your ring is of exceptional quality.

Find Reputable Sellers

Identifying the best place for buying an engagement ring, especially a vintage piece, is critical. We prides ourselves on our reputation and expertise in authenticating and certifying vintage jewellery, ensuring each customer makes a purchase with the utmost confidence and knowledge. We also offer a lifetime cleaning and repair service for any piece bought with us, ensuring your purchased antique engagement ring will always be in spectacular condition. 

Consider the Durability of the Stone

It’s incredibly important to consider the stone's durability. Pearls and other softer stones, while beautiful, require careful handling, making them a less practical choice for everyday wear. Choosing gemstones, from diamonds to sapphires can be a more durable option. 

Don’t Limit Yourself to the Design

One of the joys of buying engagement rings, especially a vintage one, is the variety of designs available. We encourage you to explore beyond your preconceived notions of style, it can lead to discovering a truly unique and personal piece. Book an appointment to visit our Hatton Garden store or have a virtual viewing and our experts can walk you through the magnificent options available to you. 

Check the Quality and Condition of the Ring

When it comes to how to buy an antique engagement ring, assessing the quality and condition is paramount. Our commitment to sourcing only the finest pieces means every ring in our collection is a testament to exceptional craftsmanship and enduring beauty.

Our Expert Tips for Buying Vintage Engagement Rings

Our engagement ring buying guide would be incomplete without our expertise on choosing the right style of ring for you. 

Select what you love: Your ring should be a reflection of your personal style and story. Choose metals and gemstones that appeal to you, consider the favourite colour of who you are proposing to, and whether they prefer gold or silver.

Timelessness over trends: Go for pieces of timeless beauty that transcend passing fashion moments. Vintage jewellery’s distinctiveness is its charm. Don’t be afraid to choose a design that stands out to you, even if it isn’t a style that is currently en vogue. 

Understand the history: Appreciate the historical context and craftsmanship of your chosen piece. Our experts will be able to provide you with everything you could want to know about your chosen ring. Sharing the history and magnificence of the piece you have chosen with your fiancé will show further how much care has gone into buying an engagement ring.

Maintenance and care: Understand the maintenance requirements, especially for delicate antique rings, to ensure their longevity. We have plenty of information on how to clean antique jewellery, but we also provide in-store expert cleaning and maintenance too. 

Whilst you are on your engagement ring buying journey, remember that the perfect ring is one that tells a story, that your story will be a part of too. We invite you to explore Berganza’s extensive collection of vintage and antique engagement rings, each piece waiting to be part of a new chapter in your life.

Tudor red spinel ring, English, circa 16th century hatton garden
Tudor red spinel ring, English, circa 16th century.
Ref: 27575
Georgian diamond  ring berganza hatton garden
Georgian diamond cluster ring, English, circa 1770.
Ref: 27536
Victorian old mine diamond solitaire ring, circa 1900 hatton garden
Victorian old mine diamond solitaire ring, circa 1900.
Ref: 28122
Victorian sapphire five stone ring, circa 1890. Hatton Garden
Victorian sapphire five stone ring, circa 1890.
Ref: 28124
Natural saltwater pearl and diamond cluster ring hatton garden
Natural saltwater pearl and diamond cluster ring, French, circa 1910.
Ref: 27254
Edwardian diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1910 hatton garden
Edwardian diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1910.
Ref: 28563
Colombian emerald and diamond cluster ring berganza hatton garden
Edwardian Colombian emerald and diamond cluster ring, circa 1910.
Ref: 26096
Antique diamond engagement ring berganza hatton garden
Edwardian diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1905.
Ref: 27492
art deco diamond cluster ring, circa 1930. hatton garden
Art Deco diamond cluster ring, circa 1930.
Ref: 28363
Burmese sapphire and diamond cluster ring, circa 1925. Hatton Garden
Burmese sapphire and diamond cluster ring, circa 1925.
Ref: 28090
Diamond and ruby target ring, circa 1920 hatton garden
Diamond and ruby target ring, circa 1920.
Ref: 28180
Cartier diamond cluster ring, circa 1935 hatton garden
Cartier diamond cluster ring, circa 1935.
Ref: 28172
Art Deco solitaire diamond ring, circa 1935 hatton garden
Art Deco diamond solitaire ring, circa 1935.
Ref: 25553
Art Deco sapphire and diamond ring, circa 1935. Hatton Garden
Art Deco sapphire and diamond ring, circa 1935.
Ref: 27434
Art Deco diamond flanked solitaire ring hatton garden
Art Deco diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1925.
Ref: 27189
Colombian emerald and diamond coronet cluster ring hatton garden
Colombian emerald and diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1920.
Ref: 26975
padparadscha ceylon sapphire and diamond ring. hatton garden.
Padparadscha Ceylon sapphire and diamond ring.
Ref: 28496
Diamond solitaire ring hatton garden
Diamond solitaire ring, French, circa 1940.
Ref: 27185
 Mellerio Burmese sapphire diamond coronet cluster hatton garden
Mellerio Burmese sapphire and diamond coronet cluster, French, circa 1950.
Ref: 28439
Burmese ruby and diamond flank solitaire ring, circa 1950. Hatton Garden
Burmese ruby and diamond flank solitaire ring, circa 1950.
Ref: 27826
Old cut diamond solitaire ring, circa 1950 hatton garden
Old cut diamond solitaire ring, circa 1950.
Ref: 27983
Marquise diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1950. Hatton Garden
Marquise diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1950.
Ref: 28070
Vintage Diamond Cluster Ring, circa 1950 hatton garden
Vintage Diamond Cluster Ring, circa 1950.
Ref: 27356
Ceylon pink sapphire and diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Pink Ceylon sapphire and diamond ring, circa 1980.
Ref: 24871
Colombian Emerald and Diamond Ring, Circa 1970 hatton garden
Colombian Emerald and Diamond Ring, Circa 1970.
Ref: 27871
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Updated 25/05/2024 at 2:00PM

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