In my last post I talked about sustainable diamonds from Canada mined from the Ekati and Diavik with fair-trade practices. These are a great choice if you have your heart set on a brand new “build-your-own” engagement ring but want to lessen the environmental and social impact. Today, we’ll discuss another option – Vintage Engagement Rings.
For a more meaningful conflict-free option, explore these antique and estate rings. Crafted anywhere from the late 1800′ s to the 1960’s, vintage rings come in a wide range of styles, each with their own storied past. Selecting a vintage ring gives you access to fine hand-craftsmanship from a time gone by, and styling not easily re-created with modern manufacturing techniques. Plus, the benefit of knowing that you are not supporting unethical modern-day mining operations. Diamonds commonly referred to as “Blood Diamonds” originated from countries including Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire in the past 50 years. By purchasing antique and vintage diamonds mined before 1970, you’re bypassing this time period entirely and ensuring that your diamonds price did not finance civil war in these regions.
And of course, these rings are just simple gorgeous. My favorite place to shop for vintage rings is on Etsy. They’ve got a huge selection from hundreds of sellers. Etsy makes it easy to evaluate sellers by providing real customer reviews on each profile. Make sure to only shop from sellers with posted reviews as well as return policies. Here are a few of my faves…
Vintage Engagement Rings
The details on this art deco style sapphire and diamond ring is unmatched by anything you can buy new. The Old European cut center diamond has a weight of 2.01 carats and was cut in the 1920’s and set in an elaborate platinum setting which has withstood the test of time. Old European cut diamonds are the precursor to our modern cuts and feature 58 facets and a round cutlet. Click here to see this ring from every angle on Etsy.
Some popular engagement ring motifs, like florals and leaf can be traced back to the Elizabethan era. This vintage leaf motif setting features a 1.08ct old European cut, I color, VS1 clarity diamond in a platinum setting all for less than $10K. Click here to see shank details.
This ring features a new art-deco inspired setting for an old European cut diamond from the 1920’s. You could buy a new setting, like this one from Blue Nile, to re-create this unique hexagonal halo with a new diamond, but I think the beauty of the old European diamond gives this ring it’s authentic vintage look. See all the details up close on Etsy.
For a truly vintage look, rose cut diamonds are a cut that date all the way back to the 16th century. With up to 24 facets, rose cut diamonds are said to resemble the petals of a rose. The flat base of this cut contributes to soft glow these stones create. Their recent resurgence in popularity can be attributed in part to the huge rose cut diamond ring sported by celebrity Jennifer Anniston.
This engagement ring dates back to the mid to late 1800’s and features a large oval rose cut diamond with a beautiful crystalline transparency. The center stone is surrounded by 14 small rose cut diamonds. See images from all angles here on Etsy, as well as on-finger images.
Yes, you could purchase this timeless platinum solitaire with baguette side stones new today. But purchasing this vintage setting with an old European cut diamond (GIA Certified 1.02 carat late Old European Cut diamond; I color; SI1 clarity) held by unique claw prongs is a conflict-free way to recycle this timeless style. If you’re like me, you know someone with this style of engagement ring (my mom’s ring is identical) making this vintage setting all the more special. See all the details here on Etsy.
Love these? Tell me in the comments if you decided to go with a vintage engagement ring for your proposal.