The Truth of Vintage Engagement Ring Settings


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Are you tempted to shop for vintage engagement ring settings?

Do you love the romance of vintage rings?

Are you enchanted with the breathtaking beauty of their details?

Sure, they may be beautiful to look at, romantic to own, and just waiting to slip on your finger, but the reality is they are used rings. Therefore, along with the romance is the potential for costly long term maintenance, emotional headaches, and a lifetime of frustration.

If you love antique ring settings, then there is absolutely a place for them. However, that place should not be as your engagement ring (or wedding rings).  Here's why; engagement rings (and wedding rings) need to stand up to daily abuse everyday for the rest of your life, including:

Soap Residue
Food Particles

If your ring has already experienced a lifetime of extensive wear it may not be structurally sound enough to withstand another.  If this is the case then you are looking at a lifetime filled with repair bills.  There is also an emotional toll that constant repair can take on you.  It's nerve wracking to have to worry about damaging or loosing a ring of so much sentimental importance.

Instead, buy antique ring settings for special occasion jewelry, such as a lovely cocktail ring.  This will reduce the amount of time it is worn, eliminating the majority of it's potential wear and tear.  

If this reality check has your head spinning then hopefully the following Q&A will help ease your worries and get you on your way to finding your dream ring:

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"Why should I be concerned about vintage engagement ring settings?"

Vintage Engagement Ring Settings Answer #1: Concerns
There is always a concern when it comes to antique ring settings.  First, you don't know how well the ring was made, has been maintained, how often it has been sized, etc.  Simply put, poor care can affect the structural integrity of your ring.  Some of the problems you could possibly encounter are:

Broken Shanks
Thinned Shanks
Weakened Shanks
Worn Prongs
Cracked Prongs
Bent Prongs
Chipped or Missing Stones
Re-Engraving or Reapplying Lost Patterns, Textures, and Designs

Another draw back is that you are limited to what your estate jeweler has in stock. Unlike ordering a new ring, you may have to compromise and take what is available instead of what you want.  
Finally, if matching wedding bands are important to you, remember that they may not be available.  You may have to settle for a similar wedding band or spend the money to have a ring custom made, which is costly and time consuming.   
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"What are my alternatives to vintage engagement ring settings?"

Vintage Engagement Ring Settings Answer #2: Alternatives
Here's the good news, you don't need to shop for authentic vintage engagement ring settings to get the look you want with the romantic quality you desire.  Rather, you can shop for vintage style engagement rings to fulfill both desires.  Yes, that is correct and I will explain how to do so below.
How To Get Authentic Looking Vintage Style Engagement Rings
It is possible to get a new ring that looks authentic, but you need to pay attention to the details.  I would suggest starting a Pinterest board and pinning any antique ring settings that catch your eye.  Once you have a couple dozen pictures, start looking for commonalities:
Rose Gold Engagement Rings
Mixed Metal Engagement Rings

Gemstone Centers
Gemstone Side Stones

Flower Engagement Rings
Pierced Shank Engagement Rings
Ribbon Engagement Rings

Scroll and Millgrain Designs Wheat Pattern Designs
Millgrain Edges

Fancy Settings
Diamond Cluster
Octagonal Center Stones
Double Prongs
Fishtail Prongs

Once you have identified a handful of commonalities, you will know what to shop for in a new setting.  Here is a more thorough guide to vintage rings to help you understand their characteristics.
How To Give A Vintage Style Engagement Ring An Authentic Touch
If you love the history and romantic nature of vintage rings, then I would suggest buying a new vintage style engagement ring and having it set with an heirloom stone.  This will give you the history and romance you love, with the quality assurance you need.
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"Is there anything I can do so my ring CAN be an heirloom someday?"

Vintage Engagement Ring Settings Answer #3: Quality
Absolutely!  To ensure that your ring will be tomorrow's heirloom, buy a quality die struck setting and be mindful of life events that could damage your ring.  This will ensure that your ring will retain it's pristine beauty for years to come.

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