How to Shop for Simple Vintage Engagement Rings

The time has come to pop the question and
you’re just missing one thing – the perfect engagement ring. You know she has
her heart set on vintage jewelry that’s not too flashy. And the hard part is
finding the perfect piece.

The ring has to be simple, yet classy and it
needs to fit the correct era. But unless you’re a jewelry expert, the hunt may
seem like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Don’t worry, this article will help you find the precious one. First things first, let’s see what makes a vintage engagement ring simple.

What Is a Simple Vintage Engagement Ring?

There are two things you should understand –
what makes a ring simple and what makes it vintage.

The latter part is easy. If the ring is
between twenty and ninety-nine years old it’s vintage. In addition, these rings
belong to a specific era, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco, etc.

Nevertheless, simple doesn’t mean the ring
lacks weight, style, or value. A simple ring is subtle and each detail is
carefully crafted for timeless elegance.

To explain, the ring’s halo and the setting isn’t
complex, so the diamond’s 4 Cs can really come to life.

Top 13 Simple Vintage Engagement Rings

The following list features a curated
selection of Estate Diamond Jewelry simple vintage engagement rings. And the
pieces come from different eras so you’ll easily find the one that fits your

Berge Ring – Circa 1940

12151 Simple Diamond Ring

The geometric design and a 0.75-carat diamond
are the main highlights of this ring. In addition, the diamond features
transitional cut, VS2 clarity, and I color.

The ring belongs to the Retro era and made in
18-karat white gold. The cute details that make the Berge stand out are the cut
corners on the square bezel.

Antique Chicago – Ring Circa 1920

Antique Chicago Ring Circa 1920

Looking for an Art Deco Era ring? The Chicago Ring might be the thing you’re looking for. The center European-cut diamond will surely grab your attention. And milligram framed gems embellish the shoulders of this piece.

What’s more, the ring comes with a GIA
certificate and the diamond is VS2 clarity, G color, and 0.79-carat.

Rome Ring – Circa 1905

Vintage Rome Ring

The Rome is a rare piece from the Edwardian Era. A
beautiful 1.85-carat mine-cut diamond takes center stage. It’s of VS1 clarity
and J color, plus there are extra 0.08 carats, making the total weight 1.92

Vintage Elm Park Ring

Elm Park Antique Engagement Ring

Elm Park is a true show-stopper and the old European
cut accents the diamond’s 4 Cs. Speaking of, the gemstone is UGL rated as VS2
clarity, J color, and 0.91-carat.

The diamond itself was cut in the 1920s and
mounted in 1950. The setting is platinum and the shoulders sport a couple of
baguette-cut diamonds.

Annecy Ring – Circa 1920

GIA-certified as H color, SI1 clarity, 1.16-carat ring, the Annecy Ring is an original French piece. The old European cut flows nicely with the pave-set diamonds on the shoulders.

To add a really nice detail, the crown that
holds the diamond is made of platinum. The ring belongs to the Art Deco era.

Frier Ring – Circa 1925

Frier Engagement Ring on Fingers

The Frier is a great option if you’re on a tight budget
but want an impressive piece. The diamond weighs about 0.31 carats and it’s VS2
clarity and I color.

Plus, there are a couple of channel-set
diamonds on each shoulder and the ring itself is platinum.

Cedar Ring – Circa 1920

Cedar Engagement Ring Vintage

The moment you see the Cedar Ring it’s obvious that this ring has some stunning details. The diamond is rated as H color, VS2 clarity, and 0.80-carat. And the octagonal bezel accents the diamond’s cut.

The shoulders and the under-gallery feature
openwork and engravings, making this piece a genuine Art Deco show-stopper.

Jersey Ring – Circa 1920

Vintage Jersey Simple Engagement Ring

This Art Deco piece has an eye-catching European-cut diamond as a
centerpiece. The gem is GIA certified as VS2 clarity, H color, and 1.32 carats.
The other highlights include platinum mounting and accent diamonds on the

Kingbury Ring – Circa 1920

12385 Artistic Finger Simple Engagement Ring

It’s hard not to be impressed by the Kingbury Ring. The 3.44-carat diamond comes with a GIA certificate and it’s of VS2 clarity and H color. But there’s more.

The shoulders and the under-gallery feature
French-cut diamonds. Plus, there are engravings along the sides of this
platinum piece.

Vintage Tiffany Diamond Ring

Simple Vintage Tiffany Engagement Ring

Tiffany diamond rings need little
introduction. And this piece has a 2.50-carat cushion-cut diamond of SI1
clarity and J color. Of course, the ring has been GIA certified.

To add some appeal, two baguettes flank the
ring’s shoulders. And this Tiffany has a low profile which puts it in the late
Art Deco style, around 1930.

Boudry Ring – Circa 1920

RJ12333 Finger Simple Ring

Can you guess the Boudry’s era? Yes, this is an Art Deco piece with a
beautiful European-cut diamond. And the gem comes at 4.47 carats and it’s of
VS2 clarity and K color.

Two baguette diamonds flank the central
diamond and this solitaire is set in platinum.

1.27 Antique Tapered Baguette Ring

11454 Antique Tapered Baguette Ring Vintage

The name itself reveals the main highlights of the 1.27 Antique Ring. Aside from the decent weight, the diamond is of VS1 clarity and J color.

The cut is old European. In addition, there is
one baguette diamond on each shoulder and the ring dates back to 1920.

Brilliant Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Simple Brilliant Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

If money is no object, this brilliant-cut piece should be right up your alley. The diamond
weighs whooping 5.09 carats, it’s of SI2 clarity and H color and you can get an
EGL certificate.

The mounting is platinum and a couple tapered
baguettes flank the central stone.

Simple vs. Complex Vintage Engagement Rings

Simple Engagement Ring

As you can see from the selection, simple
engagement rings can weigh 5.0 carats and feature certain embellishments. But what’s
the difference between complex and simple rings?

To find the answer, you should take a closer
look at each element of a vintage engagement ring.

Simple Vintage Settings

This is the precious metal base for the ring
and it has two functions – to hold the diamond in place and add some
decoration. More than a few settings are available and some of the most popular

  1. Bezel
  2. Tiffany (or prong)
  3. Tension
  4. Channel
  5. Pave

First to fourth settings usually appear on the
simple vintage rings. To explain, these usually have one central stone, with
little to no embellishments on the band. However, the tension setting often
appears on more modern rings.

Anyway, the pave setting is as complex as they
come. It provides exceptional sparkle to the ring and there might be a dozen or
more rings on the band. And it’s not uncommon for pave rings to have a
diamond-encrusted halo.


Things are a bit simpler when it comes to
metal. You won’t be wrong to assume that a ring that features one precious
metal can be simple. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s platinum, titanium,
or any other metal.

However, a setting that combines two or more
metals can be considered as complex.


Band characteristics such as style, shape, and
width may make an engagement ring simple or complex.

For example, wide bands (those more than 5mm)
provide more room for embellishments, filigree, and auxiliary diamonds. But a
twisted band is more elegant and delicate, therefore it’s not uncommon with
simple vintage rings.

The split shank is graceful and stylish. But
if there are smaller gemstones along the shanks, the ring is complex. In
addition, this band style may have a halo.

Diamonds and Gemstones

The rules are not set in stone, but simple
vintage engagement rings usually feature colorless diamonds. There is one
central stone and up to two smaller diamonds on the shoulders.

Adding more diamonds on the band or around the
main stone will make the ring complex. And the same goes for colored diamonds
and other gemstones. In fact, if a ring has two or more rubies around the
central stone it’s complex.


As for the cut, it doesn’t really determine a diamond’s
complexity. There are simple vintage rings with quite an intricate cut and the
idea is to let the shape speak for itself.

All other elements, or lack thereof,
accentuate the cut of the main stone. And if you want to get a cut which can be
regarded as simple, go for emerald.

In addition to elegance and class, this style
doesn’t seem to go out of fashion.

Halo Engagement Ring

A vintage engagement ring might be in the top
ten most expensive purchases you’ll ever make. Therefore, you need to make an
educated decision. Here are the things you should keep in mind.


Yes, you want to impress the future spouse and
it’s easy to get seduced by a diamond’s glam and glitter. But you need to play
things smart and determine the budget you’re comfortable with.

Forget about the two-months salary rule. Set
the number that provides enough bling to impress the lady but doesn’t burn a
hole in your pocket.

Nevertheless, it’s okay to stretch your budget
a little. But don’t take out a loan to buy the ring. If you feel strongly about
a piece that’s expensive, consider different financing options for the jewelry.

The 4 Cs

The diamond’s
cut, clarity, carat, and color
are the most important features. And with
simple vintage rings, you have some room to splurge.

The carat is the feature that affects the
price the most. But color, cut, and clarity are not second to the weight. The
trick is to find the balance of the 4 Cs and match them to your budget.

USA Today states that the center stone is a bit over
1.0 carat on average. If you take this as a starting point, you have more room
to get better clarity and color.

For example, the colors you should aim for are
J, H, or I. Clarity-wise, VS1, VS2, SI1, and SI2 are good options. These labels
show that there are some inclusions, but they might not be visible to the naked

The Right Era

Rings that belong to Art Deco and date between
1920 and 1935 are among the most popular. Of the early ones, they may already
be in the antique category.

The Art Deco rings are inspired by the Industrial
Revolution and their cut and overall style reflect this. There are also Art
Nouveau and Edwardian period rings, but these are true antiques.

Art Nouveau features a more floral design and
their appearance can be quite subtle. The Edwardian period marked the marriage
of platinum and diamonds. And these pieces can be reasonably expensive.

But if you’re not sure about the era, take a
photo of the rings your loved one wears. Compare them to vintage engagement
rings to determine the correct period.

Jeweler’s Reputation

Take your time to find the most reputable
jeweler. The first thing to look for is if the dealer is a member of trade

For example, the membership in the Jewelers of
America is a good sign you’re dealing with a trustworthy jeweler. But you
shouldn’t forget about the warranty, secure shipping, and certificates.

If a jeweler doesn’t provide at least two of
these, it’s usually best to look for another one. When hunting for the perfect
ring, you’d also want to check out the jeweler’s website.

It should be user-friendly, simple to
navigate, and each ring should come with a comprehensive list of features.
Ideally, you get access to online financing options. But this characteristic
isn’t necessarily a benchmark for reputation.

Ring Size

The size here refers to the band. And a
hundred years ago women typically had smaller hands and somewhat slimmer

Therefore, you may need to get the ring
resized, but this is not always possible. Based on the setting, you might be
able to get the ring only one or two sizes bigger or smaller. So, it’s
advisable to aim for a size that’s as close to your girlfriend’s finger as

The good news is that most jewelers will be
willing to resize the ring free of charge. But some charge for the service and
that’s why you need to ask.

How to Clean a Simple Vintage Ring

Engagement Ring next to Jewelry Cleaner

The best way to clean a simple vintage ring is
to take it to your jeweler. You should do this two or three times a year,
depending on how much the ring gets worn.

And if you get the ring from the Estate
Diamond Jewelry, contact the company to get the ring cleaned free of charge. On
the other hand, you can proceed to clean the ring yourself.

As a rule, you should avoid any harsh cleaning
agents or abrasive cloths. Make a solution of water and liquid detergent and
soak your ring in it for a few minutes.

After that, get a soft-bristle brush and give
the ring a gentle clean. Finally, use a lint-free material to dry the ring.

Important Notes

Engagement rings that have pearls and emeralds
require professional cleaning. The softer stones can get damaged. Therefore,
it’s best to leave the cleaning to the experts.

On the other hand, there are a lot of cleaning products and polishing agents for vintage jewelry. Choosing one or another depends on the type of stone and metal.

It is possible to clean the ring with
specialty chemicals. But you shouldn’t do it. Whenever you feel the ring is too
dirty, take it to a professional.

Proper Handling

When taking off or picking up the ring, you
should grab it by the band. If you hold it by the setting the natural oils from
your hands might seep in and accumulate inside.

Cleaning the house with the ring on isn’t the
best idea. Chemicals such as bleach, polishing agents, and chlorine should
remain away from your ring.

Taking off the ring and using the chemicals
with your bare hands isn’t enough. You need to wear gloves because some of the
chemicals can transfer to the ring.

This goes double for vintage rings since the
age makes the metal more delicate. One slip-up and you may permanently damage
the ring’s prongs and milgrain.

In addition, you should avoid any manual work
with your ring on. Yes, diamonds are the hardest material on earth, but they
have a crystalline structure.

When exposed to continuous pressure, the
crystals in the diamond may form tiny scratches or chips. Plus, you risk
damaging the setting and the embellishments.

What’s more, you should also take the ring off
for outdoor activities and sports. But this time it’s not about the damage,
your ring may slip and get lost.

Do You Need Insurance for the

Insurance isn’t necessary, but it’s there to
give you peace of mind. However, vintage diamond rings can get damaged, lost,
or stolen. Just remember what happened to Kim Kardashian.

Therefore, it’s best to get your ring covered.
Most insurance companies will allow you to add the ring to the house insurance
policy or rental. But when that’s not an option, ask your insurer for a
separate policy.

Final Thoughts

A simple vintage engagement ring has the power
to become a family heirloom. Classic lines, old cuts, and tasteful
embellishments allow these pieces to transcend trends.

And the best thing is, you don’t need to break
the bank to get a really cool vintage engagement ring. This article has
provided you with more than enough options to choose from. Plus, you can
further narrow down the choice if you use the Estate Diamond Jewelry browser

So what are you waiting for? Go on and make
your pick.

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