Unique Engagement Rings – Choosing a Vintage Setting

We often hear the word “vintage” associated with a number of things – gowns on the red carpet, cars, furniture, and, of course, engagement rings. A lot of celebrities have “vintage” and “antique” engagement rings that are characterized by their intricate and unique settings. But what does it really mean to have a vintage piece?

There are actually a number of terms associated with vintage rings and it is very easy to get confused with the jargon. A Vintage ring can mean different things to different jewelers. Some use it as a a catch-all term meaning “an old ring”, while others refer to it as a ring that was made to look like it was from another era. Within the vintage retro swimwear umbrella, we haveĀ Estate rings, that refer to ones that were previously owned, and are typically ones from the last 50 years, andĀ Antique rings, which refer to those over 50 years old (although some would argue that Antique rings should be at least 100 years old).

Depending on your taste, you can opt for Vintage rings that are reflective of specific time periods:


  • Victorian Antique Rings (1835-1900): Often set in yellow or rose gold, Victorian designs can range from simple to extremely intricate – many Victorian settings feature rows of diamonds.
  • Edwardian Antique Rings (1900-1920): Platinum became popular. Rings were very decorative, often featuring lacy and textured shapes and milgrain and filigree detail on the mountings. Rose-cut diamonds and sapphires became popular.
  • Art Deco (1920-1930): A sharp contrast to Edwardian rings, Art Deco rings are colorful with contrasting gemstones, geometric designs, and symmetrical shapes (think Chrysler Building), and are one of the more popular choices for antique engagement rings today.
  • Vintage Retro Rings (1940s): Retro rings are characterized by bold and bright colors, chunky styles and raised angles and domes. The outbreak of war slowed down jewelry production and because platinum was not available to jewelers, different colors of gold became popular.

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