Antique Engagement Ring Buying Tips

Antique Engagement Ring Buying Tips

Olly Gerrish is one of the many friendly faces that will greet you upon arriving at Grays Antiques Market, home to one of the world's largest and most diverse collections of fine antiques, jewellery, and vintage fashion. The Antique Jewellery Company, an online version of her and her business partner Jo Elton's stand in the famous antique market showcases their beautiful rings and jewellery. With over 30 years experience of selling antique jewellery, we thought Olly would be the perfect person to give us some expert tips on buying an antique engagement ring:

Why opt for an antique or vintage engagement ring?
"Because the chances are that you will never see another one like it. We only purchase unusual original rings that are well made and have stood the test of time. You will not be wearing a uniform like so many single-stone diamond rings that modern makers produce, but something unique which is a real talking point."

What should you ask when buying an antique ring?
"You should always ask what the carat of the gold is (18 or 15 carat) which a lot of antique rings were made in. Nowadays the norm is 14 carats, so don't be surprised if a dealer says the ring is 15 carat. Some rings are not marked but have been tested with acid to ascertain the quality of the gold. Also ask about the size of the stones: the dealer should be able to tell you the carat weight. Enquire about the quality of the stones; colour and clarity. This is important with diamonds which can be colour and clarity graded, if they are large enough. Small diamonds can fairly easily be assessed with a loupe. You should also look for chips, if they are drawing colour, and internal marks which all affect the value. Ask if the ring has been restored in any way. This is important, although old resizing is perfectly permissible."

How is buying an antique ring different to buying a new ring?
"Yes, it is a whole different experience. You get to meet a host of dealers who are enthusiastic about what they are selling - they will really put their money where their mouth is. It is important to go to a reputable dealer, and at Grays there are well known dealers who have years of experience. The market is also very competitive, so the prices will be fair."

What sort of price ranges or budgets would you say are the 'average' price of a vintage ring?
"Anything from £500 to £3,000 will buy you a really gorgeous ring with real history."

What is your top tip on choosing engagement rings for newly engaged couples?
"Do your market research; look at web sites such as ours, make a shortlist then come in to Grays and view the rings. Once there, ask to look at the ring with a loop - the dealer will be happy to assist you. Prepare some questions on condition, size of stones, age etc. and away you go!"

To see Olly's ring visit www.antiquejewellerycompany.com or for more information visit www.graysantiques.com to find your dream antique engagement ring.

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Comments

  • A great article which will be of huge help to everyone seeking an antique engagement ring - and Olly has a gorgeous selection. As a fellow antique jewellery specialist I'd just like to add 2 points. 1. Lovely antique rings such as these are in good condition because they've been worn with care lady-like care. Some of the stones may not be suitable for everyday wear because of modern day lifestyles we lead. So, no gardening or working out at the gym in these antique lovelies. 2. When asking about colour, clarity and carat weight of the stones, the buyer should be aware that this usually the jeweller's, hopefully expert, opinion and not a certified grading. Stones have to be removed from the settings to be certified. Thanks once again for bringing antique jewellery to the fore!

    • Elaine Nicholson
    • 04 May 2012
    • Reply

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