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An antique engagement ring is a very fashionable choice for couples these days in their choices for engagement rings. The styles and the craftsmanship of the antique rings are far better then many of the modern made rings and the history that comes from the rings can be quite interesting as well, and they may be cheaper than modern rings.
Rule number one, in order for a ring to be considered an antique; it has to be fifty years old. If it is less then that, then it is what is called an estate ring, these rings are one to forty nine years old.
There are three distinct styles of antique rings; they are the Victorian Era (1835-1900), Edwardian Era (1900-1920) and the Art Deco Era (1920-1930). Each style has its own unique styling features for the three eras.
The Victorian Era rings were usually made out of yellow or rose colored gold. They had diamonds, but also would use different gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls, topaz just to name a few. They also like to use colored diamonds that had yellow, rose or green tints to them. The designs ranged from simple to extremely elegant. The diamonds from that era also had what was referred to as the mine cut, which was an extra facet row cut at the bottom of the diamond. This was done to help the rings sparkle in candle light environments. Some consider the Victorian rings to be the most romantic of engagement rings.
The Edwardian Era rings were the first engagement rings to be made of platinum. It was the invention of the oxyacetylene torch that made it possible to work with platinum. Most of these had rose cut diamonds or sapphires in them. The rings had scrollwork, filigree detail, milgraining, and lacy and pierced shapes in them. They are very elegant looking rings.
The Art Deco Era rings had Native American, Egyptian and Asian influences in there designs. A lot of these style rings were made of platinum. These rings had colorful stones as well as diamonds in them. The rings at the end of the era went for a streamlined geometric design with diamonds in them.
It is important to remember that the jewelers of this period graded their diamonds on a different scale then do modern jewelers. Back then, the color and contrast of the stones was for more important then clarity. Modern diamonds are mainly white in color, so that is why clarity is such an issue with modern stones.
As far as to where to get these rings, there are many places to acquire them from. The best and cheapest way, is for it to be a family heirloom form either the bride or grooms family. There is no guessing involved, and the history of the rings in known. Buying from a reputable antique seller or jeweler is your next best option. Make sure that they offer you a written guarantee of return and that they have the history of the ring, most good sellers will some kind history for the rings. Estate sales are another good place to get antique rings, just make sure that you have a certified gemologist certify the rings authenticity and workmanship. Pawn shops can be another place, but make sure they offer a money back guarantee, so that you may get the ring checked out. Online sellers are also an option, just do your homework and check out the seller to make sure they are legitimate.
To sum up, an antique engagement ring is a good idea for couples; just check them out, so that you know what you are getting. One could end up with a very good deal on an engagement ring that they couldn't otherwise afford.