Engagement Ring Hunting With Diamonds in the Library

  • 01 of 17

    Guest Curator: Blogger Becky Stone of Diamonds in the Library

    A Victorian sapphire and diamond cluster ring from Humphrey Butler, as snapped by blogger Becky Stone of Diamonds in the Library. Diamonds in the Library

    Earlier this summer, Becky Stone, author of the blog, Diamonds in the Library, attended Las Vegas Jewelry Week, where, as I’ve mentioned before, the jewelry world gathers to show, shop and report on the latest and greatest designs. Naturally I stalked her Instagram with particular enthusiasm during that time, but the one event I was most excited to see her cover was the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show, held at the Paris Hotel & Casino. Given Becky’s particular métier—all things...MORE antique, vintage and estate jewelry—I knew she’d be sharing a number of extraordinary discoveries.

    But would she also be willing to curate a selection of antique engagement rings, just for About Style readers? Pretty please? Lucky for all of us who share her passion for antique jewelry, Becky sweetly agreed to my request, and this post is the result of her days-long scavenger hunt. Her picks (and pics!) are characteristically stunning, stunning, stunning and her comments about each of the rings are as sparkling as the designs themselves. 

    If these rings alone aren’t enough to veer your engagement ring search in an Art Deco, Victorian, Edwardian or Medieval (yes, Medieval—check out slide 12!) direction, Becky cites three very good reasons to take the leap:

    1. The uniqueness. “While someone else might have a ring that feels similar to my 1930's Art Deco hand-engraved platinum engagement ring, it's extremely unlikely that I'll ever find someone with an identical one,” she says.

    2. The history. “Don't you love the idea of being a link in a chain of women who have chosen the same ring to play a starring role in the great love story of their lives? Not only that: antique/vintage engagement rings are completely sustainable and environmentally friendly. You can know for sure that you aren't supporting unethical mining practices, because no one mined a new diamond for you. When you choose an antique engagement ring, you're recycling.” 

    3. The beauty. “Antique/vintage engagement rings have character: They were made by hand, one piece at a time, by skilled artisans. They feature juicy antique gemstones, each cut to sparkle softly in candlelight, with a more romantic shimmer than modern cuts, whose calculated brilliance can feel harsh.”

    And here’s some expert advice for when you start shopping: “The most important thing is to make sure that your antique engagement ring is in good condition,” says Becky. “Look at the prongs under a jewelers' loupe. If you see any cracks or discoloration, the prongs are more likely to fail, which means your ring could close a stone. Consider the cost of any repairs as part of the price of the ring before you buy it.”

    “Also remember that the concept of wearing your engagement ring every day is something that didn't exist until recently. Not all antique pieces will stand up to everyday wear, especially if you're not careful. I've never worn my antique engagement ring in the shower, while doing dishes, at the gym, or even while sleeping. It's almost one hundred years old and I know if it's going to make it another one hundred years I have to take good care of it, just like its previous owner did.” 

    Hit up Diamonds in the Library for more advice and insights, including smart buying guides, plus a trove of antique engagement ring photos and resources. And when you do get engaged, don’t snap the requisite engagement ring selfie without reading Becky’s extremely detailed, extremely helpful tutorial on taking jewelry photos with your phone. Seriously revelatory!

    Ready to check out the sparklers Becky’s picked out for you? Click on through—and remember, if you see something you love, snatch it up quickly, because they’re all one of a kind. 

    Continue to 2 of 17 below.
  • 02 of 17

    At Humphrey Butler...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "This bombshell of a piece is an early Victorian cluster ring centering a 4.72-carat old European cut diamond. The halo of smaller Old Mine cut diamonds gives this ring a floral feel, like a sunflower made of diamonds. The gold shoulders of the setting are ornate, with a fleur-de-lis design."

     $35,000, available at Humphrey Butler

    Continue to 3 of 17 below.
  • 03 of 17

    At Craig Evan Small...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "A selection of the antique engagement rings spotted at the Craig Evan Small booth! I couldn’t resist putting them all on at once."

    Assorted Art Deco engagement rings, prices upon request, available at Craig Evan Small Estate Jewelry

    Continue to 4 of 17 below.
  • 04 of 17

    At Estate Diamond Jewelry...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "Well, helloooooo, lover. This glorious Art Deco ring starts out with a 5.12-carat old European cut diamond in the middle and just gets more amazing from there. With that big ol’ diamond in the middle, and those killer baguette diamond shoulders leading to platinum filigree friezes…let’s just say they had to pry this off my finger."

    $98,000, available at Estate Diamond Jewelry

    Continue to 5 of 17 below.
  • 05 of 17

    At Lowther Antiques...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "These are two exceptional examples of one of my very favorite antique ring styles – the crowned heart. Each of these crowned heart rings is made of two paired stones, one ruby, and one diamond. The top ring is from around 1800; the other, which is crowned with a bow, is 1820s to 1840s."

    $6,000 and $4,250, available at Lowther Antiques

    Continue to 6 of 17 below.
  • 06 of 17

    At Simon Teakle...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "This engagement ring is recommended only for those who would like to feel as if they had a small, sun-dappled lake on their finger. This lovely thing features a bewitching and unique 3.70-carat antique diamond mounted in silver and gold. A remarkable stone that needs no embellishment."

    $79,500, available at Simon Teakle Fine Jewelry & Objects

    Continue to 7 of 17 below.
  • 07 of 17

    At Humphrey Butler...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "Big blue here is a classic Victorian cluster ring circa 1880 to 1890 with an exceptional 7.96-carat  no-heat oval Ceylon sapphire ringed in chunky Old Mine cut diamonds. Stunning, regal, and timeless."

    $66,500, available at Humphrey Butler

    Continue to 8 of 17 below.
  • 08 of 17

    At Lowther Antiques...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "You have to be careful with emeralds as engagement rings – they’re not as strong as diamonds. But wouldn’t being careful be worth it for a ring like this?"

    Foiled-back emerald in an ornate yellow gold setting and crowned with a diamond, circa 1840s, $4,400, available at Lowther Antiques

    Continue to 9 of 17 below.
  • 09 of 17

    At Craig Evan Small...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "This voluptuous engagement ring’s center stone is just under a carat, but its swirling, emerald-adorned, diamond-and-platinum setting gives it the finger presence of a much more expensive ring. This stunner dates to the 1910s and centers a .92-carat Old European cut center diamond alongside 46 round diamonds and 10 calibre cut emeralds."

     $9,500, available at Craig Evan Small Estate Jewelry

     

    Continue to 10 of 17 below.
  • 10 of 17

    At Humphrey Butler...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "This classic beauty features an antique 4.62-carat cushion cut diamond in a new setting embellished with baguette diamonds. I find the center stone’s warm, golden luminescence to be utterly bewitching. This design could not be more elegant if it tried."

    $40,000, available at Humphrey Butler

    Continue to 11 of 17 below.
  • 11 of 17

    At Simon Teakle...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "Hello, color contrast perfection! This Art Deco-esque ring, because the exact age unknown, features a perfect black onyx circle surrounding a 2.05-carat  diamond on a platinum, rose-cut-diamond embellished shield-like setting. This piece has so much presence."

    $15,000, available at Simon Teakle Fine Jewelry & Objects

    Continue to 12 of 17 below.
  • 12 of 17

    At Lowther Antiques....

    Diamonds in the Library

    "Want a truly unique engagement ring? Maybe you should go Medieval. This remarkably preserved ring with its etched silver band and central flower/heart design dates to the 1500’s."

    $1,200, available at Lowther Antiques

    Continue to 13 of 17 below.
  • 13 of 17

    At Simon Teakle...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "This Belle Époque ring has a backstory worthy of its exceptional beauty. Ready? This 8.18-carat hexagonal diamond ring was purchased in Paris in 1910. Its owner immediately lost in in a game of cards to an unscrupulous Duke, who misplaced it (!!) during a party and believed it to have been stolen. In 1990, the hapless Duke’s great-granddaughter was searching the house for her escaped pet hamster and guess what she found instead?"

    $192,000, available at Simon Teakle Fine Jewelry & Objects

    Continue to 14 of 17 below.
  • 14 of 17

    At Craig Evan Small...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "This platinum 1930’s ring has the most fantastic visual effect: the two curving arcs of French-cut sapphires around the top of the setting create a beautiful background for the sweet 1.06-carat old European cut center stone. From afar, the sapphire detailing almost creates the illusion of a two-carat east-west set marquise diamond."

    $8,500, available at Craig Evan Small Estate Jewelry

    Continue to 15 of 17 below.
  • 15 of 17

    At Mary Ann-Tiques...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "A yellow sapphire and diamond cluster ring – this baby would look like sunshine on your finger. Who wouldn’t want their own private sunbeam? The intensely yellow sapphire is 3.50 carats and set in platinum and yellow gold, and surrounded by more than a carat of chunky old mine cut diamonds." 

    $3,695, available at Mary Ann-Tiques

    Continue to 16 of 17 below.
  • 16 of 17

    At Craig Evan Small...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "This engagement ring is high Art Deco, from the year 1920. Its deliciously hand-engraved platinum setting leads to a 1.38-carat old European cut diamond on what’s almost a pedestal rimmed in channel-set sapphire baguettes." 

    $8,500, available at Craig Evan Small Estate Jewelry

     

    Continue to 17 of 17 below.
  • 17 of 17

    At Estate Diamond Jewelry...

    Diamonds in the Library

    "These two stunners feature exceptional antique diamonds – 4.98 carats on top and 8.29 carats on the bottom – in new, antique-inspired platinum mountings with sapphire accents. Pretty fantastic."

    $54,000 and $113,000, available at Estate Diamond Jewelry