Sam: Should I purchase an antique engagement ring or a reproduction?
If you are looking to purchase an antique looking engagement ring, why not buy the real thing. Nothing matches the delicate workmanship and one of a kind designs.
The most popular diamond engagement rings come from the Victorian era, the Art Nouveau period, the Edwardian period and the Art Deco time period. Actual antique diamond engagement rings from these times will be delicate. And, of course, you will be getting a period piece of one of a kind jewelry. You will not see any duplicates.
Finding a diamond engagement ring from the Victorian Era (1837-1901), can be more difficult to find than other time periods, but when you do they will primarily be made of gold with floral designs, fine scroll work and animal themes.
The Art Nouveau period (1890-1905) produced 14 karat or 18 karat diamond engagement rings with flowing, curvy lines and organic designs such as birds, butterflies, and flowers like poppies, orchids or irises.
Edwardian engagement rings (1901-1914) will be designed primarily in platinum with filigree, bows, honeycomb patterns, the look of flower garland or scalloped edges. Colored gemstones such as synthetic sapphires, natural rubies or emeralds were sometimes used to accent the jewelry design.
The Art Deco period (1920-1935) primarily produced diamond engagement rings in 18 karat or platinum. You can find your ring designed with diamond flecked filigree, which looks like lace work or possibly flowers. During this time period, gemstones such as synthetic sapphires were primarily used, but you can find engagement rings accented with rubies or emeralds as well. Diamond engagement rings during this period and the Edwardian time period can easily be found without any gemstone accents, if that is your preference.
With reproduction engagement rings, you are getting a piece of jewelry that has been made over and over again. It is not one of a kind as in the older time periods. Another thing to take into consideration is the clunky heavy look. You will not find the delicate workmanship of times gone by in new reproduction rings. And finally the new reproduction engagement rings are made by manufacturers that add their price on to the price of the ring. With vintage engagement, rings there is no middle man.
If you are asking for my opinion, the answer would be to purchase the actual vintage ring. You are getting a delicate one of a kind period piece of jewelry without all the tacked on prices of manufacturers. You will find vintage engagement rings at estate jewelry stores such as Gesner Estate Jewelry.