Photo Source: Andrea Carlyle Photography,
Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved.
by Angela Magnotti Andrews
It has become popular for today’s bride to sport a vintage, antique, and/or estate engagement ring, but most brides-to-be aren’t sure exactly how to determine into which category their rings fit. One key in determining the vintage of your engagement ring is that the terms are not either/or classifications.
In fact, most rings older than 50 years will fit into at least two of the categories, sometimes three. There is no hardline rule as to what the terms vintage and antique mean, but here follow a few guidelines that should help you determine the "vintage" of your ring.
The term estate engagement ring applies to any ring that has been previously owned. The terms vintage and antique are a little more difficult to pin down, as several factors play a role in a ring’s classification. It is generally accepted that antique engagements rings are rings that are at least 100 years old. However, the term also applies to the Art Deco era of jewelry, which spanned the 1920s and ‘30s, clearly not 100 years ago. The term vintage is even trickier. Typically, it applies to rings that are at least 50 years old, but it also includes rings from the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian eras.
You can see how these categorizations can be confusing if you’re looking for one exclusive classification for your ring. So long as you view the classifications as inclusive, your Art Deco engagement ring can be classified as an estate, antique, and vintage ring. This leaves you plenty of room to choose whether you will tell all your friends that your favorite man bought you a vintage ring, and antique ring, or an estate ring.
1. Country Consultant Blog. "What Makes Jewelry Vintage." Posted March 29, 2011. Accessed May 22, 2012. http://www.countryconsultant.com/blogspot/?p=1470.
2. "Estate Jewelry." Wikipedia. Last modified May 17, 2012. Accessed May 22, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vintage_jewelry.
*Victorian clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy