Antique, Vintage, And Estate Ring Buying Tips

In an era of recreation, it is important to know the titles of rings to know you are getting the best bang for your buck. Antique and vintage are often used interchangeably, but in terms of jewelry, the difference between the two is significant. What more, a vintage-inspired articles of jewelry will be a lot more affordable than its antique counterpart, and though it sounds expensive, an estate piece of jewelry isn’t as significant as it sounds.

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By definition, antique jewelry is jewelry that is over 100 years old. Vintage jewelry, on the other hand, can be from times as recent as 30 years ago, but extends to the years after. So, a vintage ring, for example, can also by an antique, but an antique isn’t always a vintage piece.

Due to their ability to withstand the test of time, it is easy to reason that antique jewelry is crafted from high quality metals and stones – mixed with the skilled craftsmanship of the past and the history behind the pieces themselves, antique pieces are highly sought after and can be extremely expensive.  If you think about it, just the fact that an antique piece of jewelry exists so many decades later should indicate that it is of superior quality.

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When in the market for an antique or vintage ring, beware of terms “antique style” or “vintage style” – these terms mean nothing more than the fact that the designer was inspired by the styles popular in an era that is captioned, not that the ring itself came from that time.

Estate Jewelry 

Estate jewelry covers a broad range of pieces, the term “estate” meaning previously owned. These can be antique rings, vintage rings, rings purchased from second-hand jewelers or even pawn stores. With that said, estate rings can range in price extensively. Vintage and antique terms often don’t use on the add-on term of “estate” and this term is typically designated specifically for pre-owned rings that are younger than 30 years.

 vintage emerald ring

Advantages Of Antique And Vintage Jewelry

There are numerous perks in purchasing an antique or vintage ring. These rings are extremely unique and rich in history and culture! Antique and vintage rings are also durable – they have withstood the test of time and continue to display radiance and beauty, this is a testament to the quality of the material used to create the ring as well as the workmanship and care put into each piece. Finally, because they are essentially reused pieces of jewelry that require very little, to no, additional resources, vintage and antique wedding and engagement rings are environmentally and socially friendly.

vintage inspired ring

Downsides To Antique And Vintage Jewelry

Antique and vintage rings also carry their fair share of negative qualities. The average consumer may not be able to judge the authenticity of the ring or its authentication papers – this requires most of us to pay the extra money to get it appraised by an outside source. This additional cost can be quite upsetting considering that the antique and vintage rings cost a pretty penny in and of themselves. It can also be hard to gauge the size of the ring considering that ring sizes ran smaller in the past – on top of potentially purchasing a ring that might be too small, some of these rings are virtually impossible to resize – this is where it is important to know that the ring can be returned!

Where To Buy Antique And Vintage Jewelry 

There are various places that antique, vintage and estate rings can be found. The easiest, perhaps, will be a resale shop or thrift store. Resale shops are a wonderful source for estate rings, but if you choose to purchase an antique ring from a resale shop, confirm the return policy and consult a jeweler after making your purchase. The best places to obtain antique or vintage jewelry are antique jewelry resale shops or online – if you choose to go either route, look into the reputation of the place from which you are buying!

Vintage Diamond Tourmaline Wedding Ring White Gold Pink 

More Buying Tips

When purchasing antique or vintage jewelry there are several things you should keep in mind. First, ensure that the jeweler or store from which you are making your purchase has an established reputation – read reviews, google their name and see what comes up, discuss with individuals who may have heard of them, contract their customer service – do your research! Second, make sure that the piece of jewelry you purchase has authentication papers as to the date, or close to the date, in which it was made – also make sure that the diamond or gem used in the ring are certified.

ring certification

Third, confirm the return policy associated with the store or online retailer – once you receive your piece of antique or vintage jewelry, it is good practice to get it appraised by a jeweler not connected with the original place of purchase, in the event that the appraisal turns up any surprises or a significantly lower price than what you paid, it will be beneficial to have the peace of mind knowing that you can return it.  

Although purchasing an antique or vintage wedding ring can be a risky venture, if you’re willing to be patience and do your due-diligence by researching the attributes associated with each era, it can be a rewarding venture as well – one that’s end result is a stunning, unique ring with a rich history to share with friends and family.

Sue Fox

Love You Tomorrow was founded by Sue Fox, a jewelry and wedding enthusiast from New York. Her father, Simon, was a jewelry appraiser, whose family had deep roots in the mining industry. Sue grew up schooled in the different properties of gems and metals, as well as in the care and appraisal of jewelry. She was most fascinated by how different gems, materials, cuts, and settings could be put together in endless combinations to make thousands of unique pieces of jewelry. Best of all, each piece was distinct in its purpose and design to match the personality of the wearer. Love You Tomorrow began as a passion project in 2016. This was around the time when many of Sue’s friends and family members were getting married. Knowing her expertise, they often sought out her advice on wedding and engagement rings. The blog started out as a place to house Sue’s now in-demand knowledge. Her first posts were buying guides for diamonds, roundups of her favorite ring recommendations around the web, and practical tips about choosing the right gemstone for you. It became apparent pretty quickly that the most common visitors to her blog were couples in the market for wedding and engagement rings. Since rings were only one item on an engaged couple’s to-do list, Sue also began to receive inquiries about how the perfect rings would fit into the rest of the whole wedding picture. Since then, Sue’s vision for the blog expanded to become a one-stop shop for other resources on weddings in general. Today, Love You Tomorrow is a wedding blog that features not just Sue’s expertise on wedding and engagement rings, but also insights from her “Wedding Party”, a team of wedding experts and enthusiasts who write guides, recommendations, and tips for happy couples looking to tie the knot. Sue is now currently based in Carmel-by-the-Sea on the Monterey Peninsula in California. She lives with her husband Jess, and their three dogs, Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc.

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