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Exploring the beauty of vintage engagement rings

Exploring the beauty of vintage engagement rings

There is a decidedly romantic essence to vintage engagement rings. For me, I think Jane Austen novels like Sense and Sensibility. I think of Henry VIII and reading The Other Boleyn Girl. Can you tell reading is a favorite pastime? Art deco, Edwardian, vintage diamond cuts, filigree...I love it all. If you are contemplating an ode to a past era, we hope to provide some inspiration, and helpful tips to help you on your shopping journey.


Vintage diamond cuts

One option for creating a vintage engagement ring with a piece of history is with a vintage diamond cut. These are natural mined diamonds that were cut hundreds of years ago. A little history lesson: there was an evolution to the modern round brilliant cut diamond we have today. As cutting technology was primitive 100 or even 200 years ago, so was were the cuts derived. That’s not to say they are not beautiful in their own right! Some vintage cuts have such beautiful qualities and mysterious sparkle. When I was getting engaged in 2002, we had the most stunning English cut diamond in a platinum Edwardian era style ring. It completely stole my heart! I absolutely adore it. Here are a few vintage diamond cuts that we see from time to time:

Old Mine Cut

Old mine cut diamonds have a pillowy outline, similar to a modern cushion cut.

a yellow gold halo engagement ring with an old mine cut diamond

This custom designed collaboration between Noam Carver and myself boasts a stunning 1.23 carat old mine cut diamond, more than likely cut over 100 years ago. We chose to showcase it with a halo of diamonds and a simple knife edge band. It is simply exquisite. My favorite part is that there are many small prongs as opposed to four large ones. Breathtaking!


Old European Cut

The Old European cut is when the mine morphed into a more round shape/outline. Old European cut diamonds have a very dome-y crown and table area, which is the part that faces up to your naked eye. This means that there is more weight in the depth of an old European cut than other shapes. In other words if you have a 1 carat modern round brilliant cut and a 1 carat old European cut side by side, the old European cut will look smaller.


English Cut

English cut diamonds were after both old mine cut and old European cut diamonds in the evolution of getting to our modern round brilliant cut. I absolutely adore English cut diamonds because they have the round outline of a round brilliant cut but also a softer, almost floral sparkle. I think they are so pretty...this is why I had to have one for my engagement ring! English cut diamonds have a timeless beauty and complement a variety of ring designs.


Vintage Inspired Engagement Rings

Another idea for creating a vintage style engagement ring is with a designer who’s style aligns with the retro. One of our favorite designers for vintage inspired engagement rings with intricate details is Noam Carver out of Montreal, Canada. This award-winning designer takes so much inspiration from nature and the centuries past. To the inspiration!

a white gold diamond and sapphire ring

a white gold diamond and sapphire ring

This stunning sapphire and diamond ring has a decidedly Edwardian feel to it. The white gold and diamonds are perfectly showcasing three blue sapphires (although in my personal opinion, I think rubies would look absolutely incredible along with many other gemstones!)

The white gold has a combination of hand engraving, which is an art that is slowly slipping away, and filigree...and intricate detail that will make your engagement ring stand out like no other!


an art deco inspired ring

This art deco era vintage style engagement ring has so many perfect details. I love the geometric shape to this halo engagement ring, simple yet powerful heirloom vibes. Note the careful pavé set round diamonds in the halo and the gorgeous side stones.


a white gold diamond solitaire ring

From Noam Carver’s Atelier collection comes a solitaire engagement ring like no other. I love this solitaire design for it’s simple use of detailed hand engraving on the foundation. This setting also lends so well to rose gold and yellow gold, again just in my opinion, I feel like the hand engraving pops even more when it’s against the backdrop of rose gold or yellow gold!


a rose gold enagagement ring

This art nouveau inspired engagement ring is shown in rose gold (but available by special order in yellow gold or white gold). That little leaf motif is absolute perfection!


a rose gold engagement ring

The Victorian era held so many designs for (what are now) antique engagement rings. When I think Victorian era, I think of this type of ring style. The center stone takes center stage, hand engraving and milgrain details intermingle to create a juxtaposition of romantic and strong. The durability of a design like this is wonderful, the foundation of this style of vintage engagement ring is hearty enough for every day wear.


Tips if you want to make a vintage inspired engagement ring your own:

  • If your diamond engagement ring is going to be vintage inspired, be sure to shop for your wedding band at the same time. Many of these art deco engagement rings, art nouveau designs and Edwardian vibe rings have loads of intricate detail. Often we find a bride who absolutely loves her engagement ring but doesn’t love any wedding ring. This is so frustrating for the bride to be! While you may not be purchasing the wedding band at the same time as your diamond engagement ring, you’ll want to be sure that you have options you will love as a complete set.

  • Be sure to get your ring size measured as accurately as possible. Many of these design elements restrict how much you will be able to resize a ring. Visit your jeweler or retailer often in the days leading up to the final decision and have your finger professionally measured.



How do I achieve a custom engagement ring with vintage inspired details?

This is certainly and art form all it’s own! We recommend working closely with a designer like Noam Carver who already has a passion for all things vintage inspired and antique engagement rings. His impeccable craftsmanship will not only impress you but last a lifetime.


What if I want an authentic vintage ring?

We recommend searching out a retailer who specializes in authentic vintage rings. Our sister store, Canadian Jewelry Exchange (aka CJEX) specializes in all things preloved. You will find not only vintage diamond cuts but also authentic vintage rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Remember, these will be one of a kind pieces so if you love something, scoop it up before someone else does!


In Summary:

Both authentic vintage and new vintage inspired engagement rings are oh so fun! There are so many intricate details and motifs that can be incorporated! At Perrara, we can’t wait to brainstorm with you and create something unique, bespoke and wonderfully vintage. 

With Love, Perrara

Author: Lisa Maloney, Proprietor

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