Is it romantic to buy a second-hand engagement ring?

There are myriad reasons that a loved-up, future-facing couple might choose a vintage engagement ring over a brand new one. We all know about the financial and environmental benefits of reclaiming an old piece of jewellery, but what we don’t tend to discuss as readily is the sentimental factor. Today, we explore whether or not it’s romantic to propose with a second-hand engagement ring.



Vintage engagement rings tell stories

You and me / Toi et moi: Bernadette and Mae

To most, the engagement ring is more than a mere amalgamation of materials, manufactured to look good on the finger; it’s a sacred token, steeped in symbolism.

A pre-loved engagement ring has already lived a life, once symbolising another unique love story. Some people aren’t comfortable wearing an engagement ring that’s already served this purpose before, preferring to celebrate their new chapter with the clean slate that is a brand new engagement ring chosen specially for them. To each their own; we can understand this mentality.

On the other hand, many view a pre-owned engagement ring as a symbol of enduring love, having already made one couple very happy before sticking around to fulfil that privilege all over again. From our perspective, it doesn’t get more romantic than a time-honoured piece of jewellery with enough staying power to tell numerous love stories.

This matter is something of a room-divider, with people tending to feel pretty strongly either way. Before you make any further considerations, we highly recommend gauging your partner’s perspective. This might involve asking some loved ones who know them well, considering their previous jewellery-purchasing habits, or broaching the subject with them directly.



Pre-loved engagement rings are cheaper than new ones


Generally speaking, second-hand engagement rings tend to be a little cheaper than their brand new counterparts. Although certain prized vintage and antique designs (like Emily, our antique Art Deco engagement ring) bear price tags that are partially reflective of their craftsmanship and history, finding a new engagement ring with the same volume of metal and gemstones for a lower price would prove difficult. In other words, exploring the realm of second-hand engagement rings is a clever opportunity to maximise your budget.

If your partner has always dreamt of a show-stopping betrothal jewel set with a large gemstone, sourcing a vintage engagement ring shows thoughtful initiative to honour their wishes without exceeding your budget.

What’s more, the practical decision to save a little money now might enable you to set aside some money that can be invested elsewhere – whether that be home, travel, or perhaps even your wedding!



Antique engagement rings leave no footprint

Jean, Darcy, Clara, Lois

It’s no secret that the continued mining of diamonds, gemstones and precious metals is a drain on our planet’s finite natural resources. No matter how responsibly extracted or fairly traded, new materials expend energy, water, land and minerals. Choosing to reclaim a perfectly functional piece of jewellery already in circulation is an opportunity to avoid placing personal demand on the mining industry, instead celebrating materials already above the ground. Romance is in the eye of the beholder, but at The Vintage Ring Co. we feel there’s something incredibly charming about an engagement ring with a clean conscience, sympathetic to the climate emergency.



Vintage engagement rings stand out from the crowd


Often demonstrating design styles and manufacturing techniques that hark back to a time before mass production, vintage engagement rings are distinctive; it’s rare to find two exactly the same.

Some historic design styles are inherently romantic in a way that contemporary jewellery could never match. Take the fede gimmel ring, for example, with its ancient Roman icon of clasped hands. Victorian jewellery, in particular, is inextricably entwined with passionate symbolism, from the intimate language of flowers to lover’s knots and superstitious talismans like horse-shoes and stars.

Consider your partner’s outlook on life and personal sense of style. Are they expressive, curious, creative? If you know they’d enjoy wearing a visual symbol of commitment that’s a little different to their friends’, you’re better off seeking an antique engagement ring than purchasing a generic design that any modern-day jeweller could emulate. This process might require a little more time and exploration, but in undertaking the mission, you are demonstrating your desire to let your partner shine. Now that’s romantic!

Our mission? To hunt out vintage engagement rings below £2,000 

Claire Roberts, co-founder of The Vintage Ring Company