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Where to buy a vintage engagement ring: From antique jewellery to art deco rings

These antique diamond rings are a piece of history – make them a piece of your history, too

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Carla Challis
Commerce Partnerships Editor
May 21, 2024
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Vintage engagement rings have grown in popularity over the past few years as brides and grooms to be search for a unique engagement ring, bypassing engagement ring trends and choosing vintage proposal rings that’s unlike any others. And you don’t have to head to Hatton Garden to find the vintage diamond engagement ring of your dreams – you can do it online.

Wearing a piece of history on your finger is a stylish and sustainable choice to say ‘yes’, and there’s many incredible jewellery stores online that source the most beautiful vintage and antique engagement rings, whether your stone of choice is diamond, emerald, sapphire or a vintage engagement ring 1920s style. If you know where to look, you can find a gem.

How to buy a vintage or antique engagement ring - top tips

  1. Decide if you want a vintage or antique engagement ring -  Firstly, you need to know the difference between the two. The jewellery experts at Ramsdens Jewellery explain: “In the jewellery trade world, ‘vintage’ means a piece that was made between 50-100 years ago. Although, anything after 20 years can be considered to be vintage, such as certain eras with distinct styles.”

    “Antique jewellery is anything older than 100 years old. Antique jewellery passes the vintage mark, and although they are similar, antique pieces tend to be rarer and therefore more valuable.”
  2. Decide on a stone - Look for a vintage engagement ring with a stone that’s strong and hardy, like diamond, emerald, sapphire or ruby. Opal or pearl engagement rings are beautiful, but more prone to damage. Shopping for pearl or opal engagement rings might be better saved to traditional  engagement ring retailers.
  3. Know your partner’s style - As vintage engagement rings are one-offs make sure you know your partner’s style before making the purchase because once they’re gone, they’re gone. Also check the store’s returns policy in case your partner isn’t keen on your choice.
  4. Set a budget - Vintage engagement rings tend to cost less than antique engagement rings, and just like you’d set a budget for an off the shelf engagement ring, make sure you do the same for an antique or vintage version. 
  5. Ask for the history - Don't be afraid to ask the seller for any information on your engagement ring's history.


Celebrities with vintage engagement rings

Of course, today's most famous vintage ring owner is arguably the Princess of Wales, whose iconic sapphire and diamond piece dates back to 1981 when Prince Charles purchased it for Princess Diana from British jeweller Garrard. Its inspiration dates back to 1840, however, and is a much copied style.

Princess Kate with arm up showing ring© Getty
Princess Kate inherited Princess Diana's ring

Penelope Cruz is one of many Hollywood stars who were proposed to with a vintage engagement ring. The Spanish actor's ring from husband Javier Bardem is an Edwardian style, surrounded with pretty bezel diamonds. 

ellie goulding engagement ring© Photo: Getty Images
Ellie Goulding's stunning antique engagement ring

Although no longer with husband Caspar Jopling, Ellie Goulding owns a stunning vintage engagement ring from her ex. The antique piece of jewellery is over 100 years old, making it very different from the brand new diamonds we often see A-listers sporting.

Other celebrities who have owned, or still do own, vintage engagement rings include Catherine Zeta Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Mary Kate Olsen and of course, Meghan Markle.

How I chose the best vintage and antique engagement rings

Era: From 1920s to Victorian and more recent 1980s-era engagement rings, I've included vintage engagement rings to span all eras with the caveat that they're all labelled as 'vintage' or 'antique'.

Stones: Diamond vintage engagement rings are among the most popular, and there are sapphire, emerald, ruby and more within this edit.

Price: Whatever your engagement ring budget, vintage engagement rings can cost between the hundreds to thousands (and even more). I've included rings on all price points, with the aim of options for every budget.

Shop the best vintage engagement rings

  1. 1/6

    Vintage Emerald Engagement Ring

    Etsy Emerald Vintage Engagement Ring

    9ct Yellow Gold Emerald Halo Cluster Engagement Ring

    • Era: 1994
    • Emerald shape: Oval
    • Metal: 9ct gold
    • Measurements: Size Q½ (8½, 58). Band measures 2mm wide. 
    • Hallmark: This ring is fully hallmarked by the Assay Office of Edinburgh for 9ct gold in the year 1994. 

    With an oval cut emerald in the centre, offset with sparkling zirconia, this sweet 1990s vintage ring is a rare find.

    The flower shape is a beautiful, feminine shape that can be easily stacked with a wedding ring.

  2. 2/6

    Diamond Vintage Engagement Ring

    vintage diamond engagement ring

    Edwardian Style Seven Stone Diamond Engagement Ring

    • Era: Edwardian
    • Diamond shape: Brilliant cut
    • Metal: Platinum
    • Measurements: UK size N½ / US size 7. Band measures 2mm wide. 
    • Stamped

    Seven diamonds adorn this platinum band, giving a classic Edwardian style diamond engagement ring.

    The diamonds graduate in size, from 0.15ct - 0.93ct in the centre (around. 2.5ct total).

  3. 3/6

    Vintage Sapphire Engagement Ring

    Vintage sapphire engagement ring

    Vintage 80s 18ct Gold Blue Sapphire with Diamond Halo Engagement Ring

    • Era: 1980s
    • Sapphire shape: Oval
    • Metal: 18ct gold
    • Measurements: UK size V / US size 10.5. 
    • Band marked '750' for 18ct gold

    This 1980s style, made famous by Princess Diana and Princess Kate, is a classic engagement ring shape that never goes out of fashion.

    With the hero sapphire in the centre, its surrounded by sparkling diamonds.

  4. 4/6

    Vintage Art Deco Engagement Ring

    vintage art deco engagement ring

    Antique Art Deco 18k White Gold Old European Cut & Rough Cut Diamond Engagement

    • Era: 1920s
    • Diamond shape: Old European cut
    • Metal: 18k White Gold
    • Measurements: UK size Q / US size 8
    • No hallmark

    Art Deco-style rings are increasingly popular now, but imagine owning an original artefact. 

    The jewellery generally featured bold geometric shapes and sharp angles - think the roaring twenties, and this find is a great example of the style.

  5. 5/6

    Vintage Ruby Engagement Ring

    vintage ruby engagement ring

    Vintage Ruby & Diamond Three Stone Ring

    • Era: 1980s
    • Ruby shape: Oval cut
    • Metal: Gold
    • Measurements: UK size O 1/2 
    • Hallmark: London 1986 with maker's mark HGLd

    A Victorian inspired ruby ring from the 1980s, the pinkish red ruby is flanked by two round brilliant diamonds.

  6. 6/6

    Vintage Gold Engagement Ring

    Vintage gold engagement ring

    Vintage 9k Gold Aquamarine Engagement Ring

    • Era: 1970s
    • Aquamarine
    • Metal: 9k Gold
    • Measurements: UK size N / US 6.75

    You'll find gold vintage engagement rings quite commonplace, and this is a beautiful example of a 70s style engagement ring with gold band.

    The centre stone is a light blue aquamarine, with two diamonds on either side.

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