Anyone looking to have a sustainable and ethical wedding should consider buying antique wedding bands. While they can have a high mark up when it comes to price they are more often than not second hand and have a history to them which, for anyone who likes their jewellery to have a story, makes them perfect for some ethically conscious couples.
When it comes to deciding on purchasing a ring, there are a few things that we need to consider, and check to make sure that what you are buying is, in fact, an Antique ring.
Reproduction Wedding rings are castings. Meaning that a mould has been taken from the original ring. A then newer, modern ring is forged – the casting process. Which will then be sent to a jeweller to clean up. Evolving removing loose metal and smoothing off the surface of the ring. The Jewellers don’t take as much time as they should to complete the cleanup and therefore leave significant evidence behind. Things such as tiny bubbles across the ring’s surface and an orange peel-like surface are examples of these. Basically it won’t show the high level of workmanship you’d expect from an Antique ring.
Your first immediate clue into knowing if this is a fake Antique ring is knowing the metal it is made from. White Gold & Platinum and all the range at present. They are beautiful metals. But they didn’t exist in the Victorian or Edwardian era. So you will not find an Antique ring in those metals. If you do, it’s fake.
Once you are sure of the metal used to make the ring, let’s look at the Facets. Look long and hard at the angled now polished cuts on the stone. There are a few Antique cutting styles such as the European Cut, Old Mine, Old Brilliant, Transitional, Single and lastly the Rose Cut. These cutting methods and techniques were produced with different processes. Quite different to the modern-day. One example would be the Round Brilliant Cut.
Now all that sounds a little confusing. It is confusing to someone with no knowledge of diamonds. So the easiest way to check is to look at the rings side profile. If the top, sloping looking, part of the diamond (The Crown) is high and the flat top panel is small, you more than likely have an Antique cut Diamond. Therefore if The Crown is flat and the top panel isn’t small, you should walk away from the ring.
Setting methods and styles have changed over the years. Unexpectedly. You should expect to see that the Victorian era jewellery used to encircle the stone, such as a diamond or a gemstone, in claw-like mould. A sharp claw without a rub would indicate that the ring is newly made.
I’ve told you a lot of information about what you should look out for, but you just can’t make heads or tails of it. Then the next best thing is to look out for the stamp. The stamp, or the Purity Stamp, will be on the inside of the band. It is a great indication of how old a piece of jewellery actually is, and where it was made. On an Antique you should be seeing 9ct – 12ct in a punched in look. If you see something such as 375, this would indicate that it is a modern ring, as it is suggesting the pure gold used in the alloy.
As I said before, these rings can be expensive. The higher the price of the ring, the more legitimate that it is real. (This is definitely not always the case). But there are Antique rings for all budgets and styles.
My first choice is this exquisite Edwardian Old Cut Trio Sumner Diamond Ring.
It features a clear, bright trio of antique cut diamonds. Which all match and have a great colour to them with clear clarity. Even though this ring is old, it’s in almost perfect condition. You can’t see any inclusions with the naked eye, and the claw is also in an astounding condition for its age.
The earliest history of the rings is that they came from the late Jane Sumner estate. She was a well respected Antique dealer spanning 5 decades, with shops all over the united kingdom.
The whole ring comes weighing in around 1.04cts, placed in an 18ct Gold band.
Size M½ UK/AU, 6¼ US/CA, 53 FR/RU, 16¾ DE
This Gypsy Cut Diamond Band is so vintage! It exhumes the era in which it was produced. 1933 Birmingham, which it has all its hallmarks for. The clean and bright diamond is set in a star and has absolutely amazing colours.
For the band itself, it is chunky and glorious. Featuring the warm yellow tones of the 18ct gold from that time. Plus buying from here would be helping out a small business that has a wealth of knowledge in this industry.
Size: R 1/2 UK/AU
For a plain Gold band, I would definitely pick this Victorian 1883 22ct Wedding Band. This ring is original with all its Hallmarks for London. Including the Queen Victoria duty mark. The Gold colouring is a classic warm yellow and the band features the classic shape of flat on the inside and curved on the outside.
Obviously, it comes with some marks, hence its reasonable price (the marks can be buffed out by a trusted jeweller) But I do like that the seller has just left it in its original glory. So that you can make your own spin on the ring. Even though it is extremely old.
Size: K (UK)