Vintage: An Antique Engagement

May 7, 2012 • Magazine, Vintage

I love engagement rings. This is, of course, despite the fact that I am not particularly attracted to anything regarding typical wedding culture. I don’t like wearing white, I don’t like cake and I may or may not find the idea of Vegas’ kitsch more endearing than a traditional wedding ceremony. But if I am anything, it is loyal. That is what makes me particularly enthralled with the idea of a piece of jewelry that symbolizes one of the most important relationships one has, and therefore, an object one wears for life. When I reflect on what I’ll someday want for myself, I loathe the idea of it being anything standard and would prefer a piece that doesn’t automatically read as an engagement ring but is still a show-stopper. So when shopping (for fun — I am not actually getting married), I have always been attracted to timeless vintage pieces. Ones that tell a story and feature unique design. Because I am sure that many of you share my same quest, I’ve done a more focused search to present you with some gorgeous vintage engagement rings, perfect for the woman who aspires to be a little different.

1. Elisa Solomon Anicienne Diamond Ring, $2,840.

Unless I happen upon some prized gem in an obscure Parisian market, I would love to source an engagement ring from Catbird’s extraordinary collection. Elisa Solomon’s Anicienne Diamond ring is ideal: understated in size, intricate in design, gold (always gold) and like the description says: looks like an instant heirloom. I have a particular affinity for handmade pieces, as I think it’s quite special to commemorate something so unique with an object that no one else could possibly have. This ring is divine and elegant.

2. Vintage Gold Triple Diamond Ring, $1,980

Love Adorned is another New York jewelry haunt that’s ideal for finding a unique ring that won’t resemble anything else on the market. I love this piece for many reasons: the shape is attractively masculine, while the design is distinctly feminine. I like that the diamonds lay flat (I am not one for large, protruding stones) and its square shape differs from the aesthetic of most engagement rings. I enjoy mixing daintier pieces with heavier statement accessories and like the idea of pairing this with a very slim, simple wedding band.

3.  Van Cleef and Arpels Figural Bow Ring

If my friend Jack is reading this, he just laughed out loud. There is a slight garishness to this piece that I adore, and it doesn’t automatically read as an engagement ring, which is another plus. Also, it’s a bow, which is fabulous. What’s great about this ring is the way the diamonds interact with the gold setting — I like that they’re functional within the design and there’s a weight and texture that I find very appealing. So what if I want to put a bow on it?

4. Doyle & Doyle Vintage Diamond Engagement Ring, $1,800

This ring is elegant, and so chic. I know I said I prefer inlaid stones, but the setting on this diamond is a welcome exception. I love how thin the band is, the mix of gold and silver and the way the setting’s prongs creep like claws out from the band and over the diamond. In a very understated way, this engagement ring looks like it’s from another world.

5. Georgian Diamond Half-loop with Tooled Band, $6,000

I love this ring for its history and regal detailing. The foil-backed diamonds, the crafted etching along the band. Despite being made up of five diamonds, it doesn’t seem ostentatious — it smoothly carries the weight of a time-honored, classic piece that will indubitably look chic and elegant in any look, from any era.

— Amanda Aldinger

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