Selecting the right engagement ring for your proposal can be a daunting task, so at Antique Jewellery Online we wanted to put together a guide to help you to pick the ring that is perfect for you and your partner.
Why Choose an Antique Engagement Ring?
Firstly it’s important to know that an antique ring is what your partner truly desires. Historical pieces aren’t for everyone, and some people prefer more contemporary designs, however there are a number of reasons why an antique ring may be the right choice.
An engagement ring is an investment in the future of your relationship, but it is also a financial commitment, and the fact is that an antique is more likely to appreciate in value as time goes on. Antique jewellery has already withstood the test of time, so you can be assured that it has been crafted to the highest standard.
Modern rings may have interesting designs, but they are more than likely to follow a set of conventions that fit with an aesthetic popular with jewellers today. Most diamonds will be brilliant cut, and the most commonly available will likely be solitaire set. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this antique pieces can be considerably more varied. Jewellers from each era have experimented with a multitude of different cuts and carat weights of gold, not to mention combinations of gemstones that you may not find among a contemporary selection.
Once you’re sure that an antique engagement ring is the right choice it is important to select the right type.
Ring styles vary tremendously even within a specific time period, but there are some characteristics that are more common during a specific era. Georgian rings, for example, are often crafted with large areas of high carat gold and foil-backed gemstones. Victorian pieces often contain less common gemstones, and these stones may be paired in unusual configurations. Edwardian pieces are likely to be crafted more delicately, with stronger, lower carat gold and prong set gems, whereas Art Deco pieces favour white gold, platinum and large impressive gemstones such as aquamarine in place of diamonds.
It’s important to become familiar with the style that your partner prefers, selecting a ring based on what speaks to them rather than just the time period. It’s equally important to be aware of anything that your partner does not like, and to choose something that suits their lifestyle. Do they prefer subtle jewellery, or lean into extravagance? Do they prefer silver to gold or sapphire to diamond? Noticing these little details not only makes it more likely that they will like the ring, but it proves the attention you pay to their preferences, starting a marriage on a firm footing.
Although any ring can theoretically be an engagement ring there are a few types which have been consistently the most popular for centuries.
Solitaire Rings contain a single central gemstone, which makes the quality and size of the stone the most important factor in assessing its beauty and worth. With a solitaire ring it is incredibly important to select the right cut. Most solitaires will be diamond, but sapphires and rubies are also popular.
Trilogy Rings are built around three stones. They may be identical to one another, but often the central stone is larger. The two stones which flank it are usually diamonds, but the central stone can vary. Trilogy rings carry more intricate symbolism, representing past, present and future, the holy trinity, or parents and child.
Eternity Rings have a row of identical gemstones which can cover the face of the ring (a half eternity) or stretch around the entire outer surface (full eternity). These rings emphasise the everlasting nature of love, underscoring the fact that the ring has no beginning and no end, and is therefore eternal.
Five Stone Rings are some of the more impressive and ostentatious of engagement rings, most often containing five identical diamonds in an impressive forward-facing array. Multiple facets interacting with one another means that these type of rings sparkle beautifully.
Of course these are only a few of many different designs of ring, and the only truly unbreakable rule is that it must be right for your future fiancée. Whatever style or stone feels right is absolutely fine, but there are a few practical limitations to be aware of.
What to Avoid
Although in theory any gemstone is fine for an engagement ring there is a reason why diamond, ruby and sapphire are the most popular. These are the hardest of gems, making them ideally suited to everyday wear. If your fiancée is likely to want to wear their ring consistently then it’s worth bearing this in mind and sticking with these hardwearing stones.
Similarly you may be tempted to go for the highest carat of gold as these pieces are more valuable, but the reason that lower carat gold was created in the first place was to toughen up the soft metal. 18 carat pieces are perfectly fine for consistent wear, but those with an active life who still wish to wear their ring may want to consider 15 or 9 carat.
Lastly it is worth considering the depth of any stone’s setting as well as the prominence of the prongs used to hold the stones in place. Rings that protrude more from the finger are more likely to be knocked, and sharper prongs may catch on fabric. Smooth settings with a lower profile may be better for those who intend to wear their rings consistently.
We hope that this guide has helped to give you some pointers when choosing your engagement ring. At Antique Jewellery Online we strive to carry a large variety of antique engagement rings so that we can provide as much choice as possible to those embarking on this wonderful new stage in their lives. You can view our full collection of rings here.