Antique wedding rings are unique, stylish, and many antique rings are very affordable. Knowing that these rings were once worn by another couple in love and that they were crafted with the utmost care, are just some of the reasons that antique rings remain high in demand.
To find quality and authentic antique rings, use our helpful guide below. Here you will find info about the design eras for antique engagement and wedding rings - including Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Retro rings - plus shopping tips that can help you to become a discerning and well informed shopper. If you have any questions about antique rings, send in your questions through the comment box at the end of the page!
What is the difference between antique wedding rings and vintage wedding rings?
Antique wedding rings are usually 50-plus years old, while
vintage rings are those which represent a particular style of a specific
design era - so, a ring that displays the characteristics of the Art Nouveau
artistic period can be considered vintage and antique at the same
Where to Find Antique Wedding Rings:
Antique rings and antique engagement rings can be found through estate sales, Internet retailers, specialized antique retailers, personal sellers, and even thrift (pawn) shops. While you may find antique rings through all of these sources, some of these sources are more reliable than others.
Retailers who specialize in antique jewelry are the most reliable sources for antique engagement rings and wedding rings. Making your purchase through a specialized retailer either in your area, or through a reputable Internet source, will help to ensure that you are dealing with a professional and that you are paying the right price for your ring.
Two of EWR's best online resources for authentic antique wedding rings and antique engagement rings include:
Brilliant Earth: Recently Brilliant Earth has expanded their collection of real antique and vintage wedding rings and engagement rings including Edwardian, Retro and Art Nouveau rings plus Victorian antique rings and antique wedding ring sets.
Adin Fine Antique Jewelry: Adin is a highly respected resource for authentic antique
and estate jewelry including wedding and engagement rings. From time to
time, they even have rare rings from the Georgian periods plus an extensive collection of Victorian rings too. Best of all - Adin offers free ring sizing on sizable antique rings. And our visitors can take advantage of a 5% discount with any purchase at Adin using code=Everything-Wedding-Rings!
Estate sales and personal sellers are also good sources, but it may be difficult to find rings with authenticated papers and which have correct appraisal values.
If you are not concerned about the value of a ring, and you are more interested in a unique ring, then thrift shops and estate sales are good places to look for antique rings. The ring you find may not necessarily be valuable, but these are places where you can find some really unusual antique or vintage rings.
Shopping Tips for Antique Wedding and Engagement Rings:
Wherever you search for antique wedding rings, here are some shopping tips to keep in mind:
Pros of Antique Wedding Rings:
These rings have truly unique styles and designs. Handcrafted rings from antique eras feature stunning workmanship that is impossible to reproduce by machine.
Antique wedding rings are considered to be environmentally friendly as no new metals or materials are required for the ring.
Some types of wedding rings from older eras are extremely affordable, and they can be a more affordable unique ring option than designing your own rings.
Cons of Antique Wedding Rings:
It takes a savvy shopper to find an authentic antique wedding ring...research before buying is a must!
Wedding rings from even over a hundred years ago are often much smaller than today's rings, and some of these rings can be impossible to resize. It may be a challenge to find an antique wedding ring that is the right size. Some rings can be resized, but the fees may be high depending on existing metal work on the band.
It may be difficult to know for sure what type of metal alloy has been used to create the ring, especially if the ring is a gold or white gold silver alloy. For those who are allergic to nickel, it may be difficult to find a hypoallergenic white metal ring band in the years before platinum became available. However, rhodium plating the band can offer protection from nickel-allergies as long as the rhodium plating is re-applied before it wears completely away. Otherwise, platinum rings from the Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro years are an option - as are Retro palladium rings.
Additional Shopping Tips for Antique Rings:
Keep in mind this list of wedding ring metals and when they were in use; these little facts can give you a big heads up towards finding authentic antique wedding rings.
Gold has been used for thousands of years to make wedding rings. However, most gold crafted rings that were made before 1854 were 18 karat gold and some were made with 22 karat gold. Lower gold alloys such as 15, 12, and 9 karat were available after that date; rose gold also became available and in popular demand after the 1854 date.
While silver has been used for thousands of years to make rings as well, silver did not became more affordable until the mid-Victorian Era (1860 - 1885) and during this time silver wedding rings became more widely available.
Platinum made its first appearance in rings in the late 1770's, but at this time it was used only for royalty. Platinum wedding rings did not really come into use until the Edwardian Period which began in the 1890's.
Platinum was a popular wedding band material from the 1890's until the 1940's at the start of World War II. Once the war started, platinum was needed for armory and at this time gold, and white gold alloyed with silver and palladium became available to replace the use of platinum in wedding rings.
Titanium was not widely used to create wedding rings until the 1990's. Tungsten and stainless steel are two of the newest
wedding ring materials, and they have only recently been in use in the
last 10 years as a ring metal.
Send in your questions, share your comments or upload pics of your antique ring here!
I will post answers to your questions as soon as possible!
If you have questions about a ring you already own, please send as much detail as possible about the ring along with clear pictures.
Click on the links to see comments and answered questions...
Is this antique ring fake? Has the band simply been replaced?
My husband just bought this ring, and it didn't occur to us until after he paid that I've never seen an antique ring with a pink sapphire before. Also, …
1916 Engagement Ring
Hi, I have my grandma's wedding and engagement ring. They were relatively well-off farmers in central Illinois. They were married in 1916. The band …
Possible Antique Ring?
I was wondering if you could tell me if this engagement ring & wedding band set is an antique? I purchased the set about 15 years ago in a pawn shop for …
Stamp on Vintage Engagement Ring
Two years ago my husband said I could get an anniversary ring…..and I found the most BEAUTIFUL ring at a thrift store of all places (they found it wrapped …
Dating a ring? Possible Art Nouveau Ring?
So I came across a band of forget me nots that I really like. According to the seller, it is from the Art Nouveau period (1890-1910). I think that seems …
Sizing A 33.3 (8ct) Antique Gold Ring
I have an engagement ring that is 8 carat gold. It is an antique ring of simple design. My finger size is 8, the rings size is 7 1/4. I have been searching …
How to Find History About my Ring?
Hi. I have an engagement ring given to me by my husband – who got it from his mother, who got it from his great, great aunt. (No one’s sure where it came …
Is my Grand Mum's ring really as old as she was told?
Recently my Grand Mum gave me a ring I've loved since I was small. She bought it in England about 50 years ago and was told then that it was 200 years …
Georgian Ring?? Not rated yet
Hello, I brought this ring 18 years ago from an antique store in New Zealand. I remember them telling me at the time, that the stone was backed with …
Can antique rings have the same designs? Not rated yet
I've recently received an Edwardian aquamarine ring as a gift. Although the ring has all signs of wear and characteristics of an antique ring, I did find …
Looking for opinion on engagment ring... Not rated yet
Hi there! I love reading all about all of the beautiful rings on here. I just got engaged with a ring that I am told was my fiance's Great Grandmothers. …
Typical WWII / Retro Era Wedding Set Styles Not rated yet
Just finished reading through your very informative post in the history if wedding rings, but was a little disappointed to find that the most traditional …
Age of my ring set Not rated yet
Just wondering if anyone can look at my ring set and date it/tell me anything about it. Hi Jessica, Additional information about the ring …
Victorian Ring? Not rated yet
This was my grandmother's ring. I believe she told me it was from 1880. It is rose gold and had black enamel on scroll pattern on the side. The diamond …
I Have No Idea What Type of Ring This Is Not rated yet
I gave this ring to my now fiancée as an engagement ring. It belonged to her grandmother and even then her grandfather had bought it at an antique dealer. …
Sizing Down Antique Ring with Hole in the Band Not rated yet
My fiancé has given me an Edwardian gold ring which belonged to his great-grandmother (diamonds and emeralds). The ring is size T and I am an H but when …
My Grandmother's Antique Ring Not rated yet
I have attached a picture of my Grandmother’s antique ring. She claims it is from Europe and handed down. She came over to the US after WW2 from Belgium. …
Antique Engraved Ring Not rated yet
I have a ring that was found and it is very unique. It has engravings but they are worn. Me and my husband have been trying to figure out what the engravings …
Rhodium Plating an Antique Ring Not rated yet
I have an antique engagement ring that has been passed down in our family for generations. It has a yellow gold band and I would prefer if it were white …
Georgian or Victorian ring? Not rated yet
Hello again. I thank you for your very informative comments regarding my last submission. I have just received a ring as a Valentine's gift from my …
1890s Wedding Rings? Not rated yet
I'm writing a novel in which a character inherits his great-grandparents' wedding ring(s). They were married in the New Mexico Territory in 1891. The …