In the vintage vs. new engagement ring debate, there is only one winner.
So what side of the fence do you sit on? There are pros and cons for each, of course, but in my opinion, vintage engagement rings win hands down. Not only do they ooze authentic charm – unlike new rings, which are just too glossily perfect for me – your budget will go a lot further too. And if you are ethically minded, you will be doing the world a whole lot of good by choosing a vintage ring over a new one.
Pros to choosing a vintage engagement ring
1. Vintage engagement rings have more character
Many of my friends have got engaged and sounded me out about buying a ring. During my years as a jewellery journalist, I have seen and tried on hundreds of new engagement rings and, aside from a select few (I love the delicacy of Japanese jeweller Kataoka’s rings and the vintage style femininity of Jessica McCormack’s creations), new designs just don’t excite me in the way that vintage engagement rings do.
Japanese jeweller Kataoka's exquisite engagement rings, above, are whimsical and intricately detailed.
There are millions of people who adore their brand-new engagement rings, but you would be hard-pushed to convince me that they have more character than a vintage ring. Immaculate from every angle, it is their absolute perfection and flashy sparkle that, for me, detracts from their appeal. Compare a gleaming new engagement ring with a vintage ring, with the kind of gorgeously warm patina that can only be acquired with age, and there is no contest.
2. A ring with history attached is more meaningful and significant
It is quite remarkable that for every vintage ring that is sold, another person, in a completely different era, shopped for it before presenting it to a loved one of their own. Vintage engagement rings are a precious thread linking the past, present and future, and each has an emotional value that is at the very heart of why they are so loved by many.
3. Vintage engagement rings are more budget friendly
Vintage engagement rings are undoubtedly better value for money. They are essentially secondhand, even if this is what gives them much of their charm. The value of a new diamond ring decreases dramatically the moment you slip it on your finger, and if you purchase from one of the world-famous brands like Tiffany, you are paying a substantial premium for the prestige of the brand too.
4. A vintage ring is 100% kind to the planet
I have already written a blog post about the many ethical benefits of opting for a vintage engagement ring. Whilst this might not be top of your list of considerations, it is certainly good to know that with a vintage engagement ring you are recycling something that has already been made, which creates no ecological footprint whatsoever - read more here.
Pros to choosing a new engagement ring
1. New engagement rings are less fragile
The delicate features that give many vintage engagement rings their unique may also make them more prone to damage. New engagement rings are generally much more robust than vintage rings, although, over time, they too will display signs of wear. Whether you are buying new or vintage, make sure that your engagement ring is checked regularly by an expert - every six months at least (put a repeat reminder in your diary - it's a good opportunity to get to know your local jeweller, who can also give your ring a steam clean at the same time). Most rings, old or new, are fragile to some degree, and some styles are more so than others. For example, the prongs that hold a diamond or gemstone in place are particularly vulnerable to everyday wear and tear.
2. New engagement rings are usually sold with a warranty
Most reputable jewellers provide a warranty with their engagement rings that guarantees against flaws in the craftsmanship for a designated period of time. Whilst it is just not possible to do this with vintage rings, at The Vintage Ring Company we make sure that a goldsmith has carefully inspected each ring and made any necessary repairs before it is sold. With the purchase of any new or vintage ring, it is advisable to check that it is covered under your home insurance. If it's not, investing in a separate insurance policy will cover any accidental damage or loss.
If you are still nervous about buying a vintage engagement ring, don't be! Please get in touch and we can talk you through any questions or queries you may have.
Above our Lilian Art Deco engagement ring, £850