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Antique Rings: Choosing and Taking Care of Vintage Jewelry

Choosing an antique engagement ring does not mean it's necessarily more expensive than a regular ring. A vintage ring can certainly be a more unusual choice. Mens ruby rings are unique, special and may have the mark of an old-fashioned romance in its design.

Be careful choosing a vintage, Victorian ring because the ring itself may be worn quite thin. Also diamonds and other stones may be loose. Make sure the ring is in very good condition and that any stones are still securely set into the ring.

Antique engagement rings still available today date from the mid-1800s to the 1950s, with changes to the materials and designs apparent from the era.

Victorian Jewelry

Victorian jewelry was often crafted in yellow or a darker, rose gold. Settings ranged from simple to intricate designs. Elaborate Victorian rings had rows of diamonds, rubies or emeralds with intricate carvings. Quality was usually very good – many Victorian rings have survived intact because of the excellent quality of the craftmanship.

In England before 1870, it was unusual to find engagement rings with one large center stone because of the scarcity of diamonds. A popular ring during this time was an engagement ring with a pearl in the center with a cluster of small diamonds surrounding it.

Eternity rings, meaning a ring comprising of tiny colored stones or diamond chips set into gold all around the band, were also popular at the time.

To find an antique Victorian ring, visit a specialist jewelery store, or look for auctions of deceased estates. A internet search on a site such as on ebay, may reveal antique rings for sale but be careful not to get scammed.

Caring for an Antique Engagement Ring

When cleaning and polishing an antique ring, make sure abrasive, “sandy” type metal cleaners are not used, as this will damage the ring. Don't use toothpaste to clean gold, as toothpaste can be abrasive, especially if it is a “micro-granule” toothpaste. Toothpaste can also dry between the prongs of the ring and become as tough to remove as cement.

Rinse carefully in warm water regularly to remove grease and grime and use a jeweler's polishing cloth to shine up the gold or platinum part of the ring. Have the ring professionally cleaned from time to time.