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Vintage Engagement Rings vs. Modern Engagement Rings

by Maegan Crandall

A woman wearing five vintage and modern engagement rings

The wide variety of engagement rings available today means that you can have the ring of your dreams, but what if you have trouble narrowing down your options? Can you really ignore the stunning round-diamond solitaire and settle on the princess-cut three-stone ring? The first step to making a decision is to choose whether you want a modern engagement ring style or a vintage engagement ring style. Use these facts about both to determine your preference.

Which Style is Right for You?

  1. Diamond cuts: Vintage engagement rings and modern engagement rings typically feature different diamond shapes. The princess-cut diamond, for example, wasn't designed until the 1960s. Vintage engagement rings are likely to feature emerald-, asscher- or rose-cut diamonds. These diamonds are typically less brilliant than the princess-cut and round-brilliant diamonds of modern engagement rings, but many brides favor them because they are so unique. Some modern engagement rings proudly sport uncommon diamond cuts, like hearts and stars, which require advanced diamond-cutting technology to create.

  2. Colors: Colored diamonds have gained popularity in recent years, but most modern engagement rings feature only white diamonds. Many vintage engagement rings have colored diamonds or gemstones incorporated into their designs. Emeralds, rubies, sapphires, marcasites and yellow diamonds are often found on vintage engagement rings. Black diamonds, on the other hand, are more likely to be found in modern engagement rings.

  3. Metals: Yellow gold and platinum are popular metals in vintage jewelry. Pink-hued rose gold can also be found in vintage engagement rings. Modern engagement rings are more likely to feature white gold, catering to contemporary brides who tend to prefer the neutral tones of silver jewelry.

  4. Styles: Generally speaking, vintage engagement rings are more ornate than modern engagement rings, which favor cleaner lines. Vintage rings are more likely to have accent stones and scrolling on the ring band. Handcrafted details are common in vintage engagement rings. Modern engagement rings, on the other hand, tend to be sleek and straightforward, with minimal accents.

  5. Budget: Both vintage engagement rings and modern engagement rings can be found in a variety of price ranges. Some exclusive vintage rings with uncommon diamond cuts and unique details cost as much as valuable antiques, while others can be had for much less than modern engagement rings by well-known designers.

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