Friday, May 25, 2012

Determining the Vintage of Your Engagement Ring

Vintage Engagement
Photo Source: Andrea Carlyle Photography,
Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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. 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 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, vintage refers to rings that are at least 50 years old, but it also includes rings from the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian eras, clearly more than 50 years ago.

You can see how these categorizations can be confusing if you’re looking for one exclusive classification for your ring. If you view the classifications as inclusive, an Art Deco engagement ring, for an example, can be classified as an estate, antique, and vintage ring.

Understanding the loose nature of these terms allows you to choose whether you will tell your friends that your fiance bought you a vintage ring, an antique ring, or an estate ring.


1. Country Consultant Blog. "What Makes Jewelry Vintage." Posted March 29, 2011. Accessed May 22, 2012.

*Victorian clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy


  1. Replies
    1. I was so happy to learn these distinctions, so I is awesome!

  2. Good to know! I assumed vintage was invented by snobs as a way to say 'not old enough to be antique but classier (hence more expense) than merely used or second-hand.'

    1. I never thought about vintage being a snob word! Haha! In fact, I'm sure some people do use it that way. However, now that you know the technical classifications, you will not so easily be taken in by those who would attempt to sell you something second-hand that isn't really vintage!! Education is power!