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chrisf2009's avatar

Where should I look for an antique engagement ring?

Asked by chrisf2009 (105points) January 2nd, 2010

I’m beginning the search of looking for an engagement ring and I’m wondering where do I find a vintage antique engagement ring? I know most of the times these things are passed down in families but I’m not sure if one of my grandmothers or great grandmothers (I still have three that are still alive believe it or not) still have their engagement rings and are willing to pass it down. I will definitely be looking into this soon.

Anyways, I want to get my girlfriend a ring that has a story and a soul. She currently has a promise ring that I purchased from Macy’s when I was a freshman in college for $500 that is diamond and has filigree. She constantly reminds me of how its her most cherished possession. I know if I got her a vintage antique engagement ring she would love it forever.

In a couple of weeks, we will be visiting a couple of antique stores in Madison, GA (fifty bucks to anyone who knows the significance of this special town in GA) because I want her to check out some rings so I can get a general idea of what she likes. Plus my parents will be tagging along and we’re going to start warming them up to the idea that we’ll be getting engaged in the near future.

Any ideas? Antique stores? Antique Road Show? Antique auctions? Should I ask for “papers” to make sure its legit and not made in China a couple of months ago and to insure the authenticity of the diamond?

Thanks for all of the advice guys!

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15 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

If you are at all able, I suggest you attend a mid-priced jewelry sale at a well-known, well-established auction house, like Sothebys, Christies or Skinners. Ask the jewelry expert for help.

syz's avatar

I would check jewelry stores that advertise “estate jewelry”.

mrentropy's avatar

@syz And sometimes you can find signs or ads for estate auctions and sales.

Darwin's avatar

You can also check out pawn shops, but generally a place that advertises “estate jewelry” would be a good place to start.

I have also dealt with a particular antique dealer online, whom I trust, who deals with estate jewelry among other things. PM me and I can give you the link to their eBay store.

john65pennington's avatar

Your best safe bet is a reputable jewler at a big name jewlery store. this jeweler is a man or woman full of this knowledge. people come to them all the time with jewelry to sell, especially antinque jewelry. also from this jeweler, you can receive a letter of authenticity of the ring. if i were in your situation, this would be the only way to go. if one jewler has no information for you, then seek another. i had rather be safe knowing a certified jeweler gave me advice and sold me or steered me in the right direction for an antique ring. beware of the con artists out there. many fakes are on the street.

Judi's avatar

Many high end jewlers have a case of “Estate Jewlrey.” If they are authorized to sell Rolex watches it’s a pretty good bet that they’re reputable.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Looking in Madison limits your choice. In just looking at what’s online, Whidby Jewelers Seems to be a good place for browsing. I would stay with a locally owned jewelry store; you may have more selection in your own town than visiting out-of-town, as it may take several trips to find exactly what you want. Sometimes you can a great heirloom setting and put a new stone it it. A lot depends on what your budget is.

dpworkin's avatar

Anything with a Certificate of Authenticity is pretty much guaranteed to be inauthentic. Sorry @john65pennington.

avvooooooo's avatar

It doesn’t take a genius to know all about Madison and the fact that its significant in several ways. Especially if you drive through it enough going to UGA. Are you referring to it Civil War significance?

Estate sales.

tinyfaery's avatar

My wife got mine at an estate sale.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would also suggest asking family members what jewelers they deal with. Around here, the reputable jewelers that would have the best selection of what you’re looking for have been in business since the 1840’s – 1880s. They’re going to take the time with you, because they want repeat family business. My engagement ring is a family piece, but I had to have a matching band made, because the family member it came from was fine with parting with the engagement ring, but wanted to keep her band. We went back to the jeweler where the ring was purchased in the 1930’s and, after three trips, they were able to find a band that came close, and modified it to where it matched the engagement ring better than the one that came with it.

faye's avatar

I think it is very important to pick out a ring together!!

glial's avatar

Cemetery? j/k

skillcapes7's avatar

There are several good places to find antique rings. Antique stores often carry jewelry, but some dealers are more knowledgeable than others about the details of the rings. Jewelerly stores sometimes carry vintage pieces while a good jeweler will have the knowledge of a valuable ring. You may not get as a good a deal, but it will give the peace of mind of knowing that you have a quality ring.

cinddmel's avatar

You can try Sotheby’s for auctioned jewelry, but you should also consider that maybe your girlfriend considers the ring that you gave her her most cherished possession because it came from you and what it means to her – not because of the way it looks. She will probably be happy with any ring that you give her because it’ll mean that you want to spend the rest of your life with her, not because it has a history attached to it. If you decide to get a new ring you can start your own story together.

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