Looking for the perfect place to buy vintage rings online?
You're in the right place! In this Learning Jewelry guide I'll answer common questions like:
- What Should You Look For When Buying Vintage Rings Online?
- Are Vintage Styles Good For An Engagement Ring?
- How Do You Know You're Getting A Good Deal?
- What Are The Red Flags To Watch Out For When Buying?
Top 4 Best Places to Buy Vintage Rings Online
If you need the list quick, here are my top picks for finding quality antique rings from reputable online dealers. Keep reading for more information about each of these shops.
1. James Allen
James Allen takes our number 1 spot for places to buy vintage engagement rings from. They carry a variety of vintage ring setting styles and time periods. They have 48 different vintage settings to choose from. Most of the collection consists of Art Deco and Edwardian styles, but they have a few Victorian as well.
Keep in mind the amount and types of ring setting options will change with whichever diamond shape you've chosen for your one-of-a-kind ring.
You can choose a diamond, colored diamonds, lab grown diamonds, different color sapphires, emeralds, or a ruby for your center stone. If you have your own vintage diamond, you can also purchase just the setting.
Their vintage settings can come in 14K and 18K white gold, 14K and 18K yellow gold, 14K rose gold, and platinum. There's about 40 options for each type of metal, so a wide range for everyone's tastes.
Because the details of vintage settings are so intricate, none of these ring settings can be made editable through James Allen's newest feature, the Ring studio. The prices of these ring settings are usually on the more expensive side, due to the details. Still, around 25/40 of the options are over $1000 currently (prices subject to change).
Not included in this number of vintage settings is their designer rings. These settings come with a heavier price, due to their branded nature. Verragio will carry the most vintage jewelry settings with lots of Victorian and Edwardian engagement rings settings.
All of James Allen's ring settings come with a free lifetime warranty that covers routine maintenance. This includes rhodium plating white gold, retipping prongs, and tightening diamonds or gemstones.
You also get one free resizing within the first year, as the design permits. They also have a 30 day return policy if you have to order a different size, or if it simply isn't for you.
2. Clean Origin
Clean Origin is an online diamond retailers that only deal with loose lab grown diamonds. They also only sell lab diamond fine jewelry. Lab diamonds have been made popular more and more through places like Brilliant Earth and James Allen.
You can't buy just the setting a Clean Origin. You have to also purchase a diamond.
Fortunately, an ideal cut diamond engagement ring from Clean Origin will be a lot less expensive than other online retailers that sell natural diamond jewelry. Lab diamonds are usually at least 20% cheaper than a natural mined diamond of the same grades.
I really like that their wedding rings and other non-engagement ring pieces are still lab diamonds. There are a lot of places that sell lab grown diamonds, but not exclusively.
Surprisingly, Clean Origin carries the most ring settings out of all our retailers with almost 900 of them. They also can narrow down your choices by choosing a Vintage filter. That brings your choices to 174 options, more than anybody else on our list.
They've got lots of really unique options and really just cover a multitude of different ring styles, even ones from the less common Georgian era. The art deco pieces at Clean Origin are different than I've seen anywhere else, like this wildly fun emerald cut engagement ring setting below:
Clean Origin doesn't have a lifetime warranty that covers their ring settings, only the manufacturer's warranty that covers design flaws. They do offer free resizing and most of the designs look like they can be sized.
The main thing that separates Clean Origin from the others is their 100 day free return policy. Customers who are nervous about purchasing engagement rings online are often comforted by a policy this generous.
The Ritani name has been around for just as long as Blue Nile, but they're actually more famous for their ring styles. You might hear them associated with classic jewelry retailers like Tiffany, Harry Winston, or even Cartier.
They used to only sell designer ring settings on their site as well as a bunch of partner jewelers. For example, you can buy Ritani ring settings with another one of our recommended retailers, Whiteflash.
But now they also sell loose diamonds, both natural and lab grown. They also have fancy yellow diamonds. You can opt for Building Your Own complete ring, or you can purchase just the ring setting.
You can easily sort the style by choosing the Vintage option. They have 144 ring settings at the moment, and 32 of them are vintage options. Majority of the setting options are art deco engagement rings. You can also find a few from the Victorian era, but the delicacy of the Edwardian style isn't common at all.
Most of their settings are bigger and more geometric than engraved detailed, like this art deco style halo ring below:
The prices of ring settings at Ritani are going to more expensive than our other retailers, mainly because designer rings come with a premium price.
You're paying more for the brand name.
Personally, I wouldn't advise getting a solitaire ring setting from Ritani, just because they tend to still be more expensive than a solitaire ring setting at another online retailer. Definitely take advantage of the more unique ring settings.
One of the things that makes Ritani stand out from other retailers is the free in-store preview they offer customers. They've partnered with jewelry retailers to allow you to build your vintage ring online and see it with no obligation to buy. No money down either. If you decide your ring isn't for you, they scrap it.
They offer 30 day free returns like most online retailers, but they also give you a free lifetime warranty. The details are a little confusing because they say they don't cover wear and tear. They do cover rhodium plating, prong tightening, and stone tightening. These are essential routine repairs. You might have to pay for prong work.
4. Blue Nile
Blue Nile often battles James Allen for online diamond retailers because of their many options and price range for many different customers. Today, they fall below the line. They pride themselves on being the first online diamond retailer.
They have a large selection of ring settings, with over 150 to choose from. For vintage ring settings, you can filter the style and be left with about 93. Keep in mind they separate different color metals and karat golds and count them as their own style. There's about 93 ring settings under their vintage filter.
The vintage ring settings are a nice mix of the different big styles. I'd say they mainly carry Victorian ring settings, but most of them look the same. There's less Edwardian designs and a handful of Art Deco.
The main reason why Blue Nile falls so low on our list is because they have a big inconvenience when shopping for vintage settings. You have to buy a diamond with them. Blue Nile doesn't sell semi-mountings, or just the ring setting.
Often times, their diamonds can be more expensive than a different online retailer.
Like Clean Origin, Blue Nile has a manufacturer's warranty. They don't cover any routine maintenance, not even rhodium plating. They also offer one free resizing, as long as it can be sized. Otherwise, they have a 30 day return policy.
Vintage Rings FAQ
Here's a list of some of the most popular questions asked about vintage engagement rings:
Is It Cheaper To Buy Vintage Rings Online?
It's really difficult to ballpark the price of vintage rings, whether they are online or in-store. Prices of vintage settings will vary depending on brands, number and quality of stones, types of stones, types of metal, and details. If it's GIA or AGS certified, it will also be more expensive.
If it's a vintage diamond engagement ring, the price will increase based on cut, color, clarity, and carat weight of the diamonds.
If you show up at Kay looking for a vintage engagement ring, you'll probably be directed to either the Neil Lane or Vera Wang collection. In my store, it was the Neil Lane.
The name might be familiar, as he is the designer of the engagement rings used for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. But the quality they get is nowhere near the quality you get purchasing from that line.
First of all, you're paying for the name with Neil Lane, not quality. Let me show you. I've picked a Neil Lane engagement ring with a total carat weight of 1 and 1/2.
The ring head has some filigree details to it and surprise diamonds. That's where more of the cost should come from, not the brand name.
The diamond already comes set in this Neil Lane ring and is 3/4 carat with SI2 clarity and I color. It's $6,800. You don't even get to pick out the center diamond.
I can't find a ring setting with similar details at James Allen. That's more common with vintage styles because they're so detailed.
The most expensive vintage ring setting is $2,350. That's the price without the center diamond. This ring setting has .58 carats in the band and they are SI1-VS2 clarity.
The diamonds in the setting alone from Neil Lane are I clarity and I color. They won't even tell you the details of them, but majority of Kay engagement rings have I center stones and I2-I3 melee diamonds.
Even though these rings aren't the same, the pricing still doesn't make sense given the quality of the just the diamonds without the center.
Your best bet is to weigh out your options and compare specs and price. Then you can decide what features are best for you.
Are Vintage Rings More Expensive?
The prices of vintage and antique engagement ring settings can vary. There are a few factors that can indicate why a vintage piece might be more expensive.
Vintage designs, whether they're art deco or art nouveau, are usually priced around how detailed they are. Some of these trademark details include scrolls and leaves, milgrain, and filigree designs. The more intricate, the more expensive they tend to be.
Another big price factor in vintage rings is the amount of gemstones and their quality. Aside from your center stone, most vintage settings have pave diamonds or larger side stones like baguettes or marquise. More stones means more expensive usually.
If you go with a diamond, the price will increase based on the cut, color, clarity, and carat weight of the diamonds.
Now, if you own an heirloom piece of vintage antique jewelry, that can change the value and resell price. Certain antique diamond shapes like the rose cut or the old mine cut diamond might increase the value as well.
Red Flags When Buying Vintage Rings?
Because most vintage ring settings are delicate and detailed, they might not do too well in active environments. Majority of vintage style rings have high profiles too, which can be prone to being bumped throughout the day.
Engraved solitaire rings can become severely damaged and ruined in a rough environment. These are rings that have more metal details like scrolls or leaves. If the metal become dented, it can't be repaired without ruining the design.
You should also choose 14K gold instead of 18K gold. 18K gold is softer than 14K because it contains more gold and gold is soft. Platinum is an excellent option for vintage rings because it's stronger and holds up better. The downside for some is that they are more expensive and heavier than gold rings.
Aside from the metal details, you'll want to consider vintage pave ring settings as well. Pave diamonds have very tiny prongs and can fall out. Out of rings that lose stones, pave settings are the most common. They're also one of the most popular. People with active lifestyles can increase the likelihood of this to happen. Doesn't mean it will, but the chance increases.
One of the biggest things people forget about intricate vintage styles is the fact that many of them can't be resized.
There are lots of online diamond retailers that offer a free ring resizing, even if they don't have a lifetime warranty that covers routine maintenance. But if you're unfamiliar with jewelry, you might not know that all metal can't be cut.
Most men's wedding bands can't be resized because they're made of alternative metals.
For vintage rings, it's not that the metal can't be sized, it's the fact that it could be ruined if sized. If you have those beautiful leaves and scrolls details coiling around your ring shank, you're not going to be able to resize it.
Similarly, if the stones go too far down the ring shank, resizing it could compromise prongs of the lowest stones. Eternity rings are another type of ring that can't be resized, regardless if offered.
When your ring can't be resized, the return policy becomes your lifeline. If you receive your diamond engagement ring and you find it doesn't fit right, return or exchange it immediately. Once that return policy is up, you won't be able to resize. It's better for your ring to be slightly loose than it is to be too tight.
Read also: How Are Rings Sized?
How To Get The Best Deal When Buying Vintage Rings Online?
I've touched on a number of different ways and benefits that will help you when buying antique engagement rings online. Here's a quick recap.
- Avoid active lifestyles with vintage settings
- Save money by choosing unbranded vintage
- Only size up or down one size
- Choose vintage settings that don't have diamonds too far down the shank
- Make sure to check your ring for loose stones
- Make note of the return policy just in case it can't be resized
- Choose a retailer with a warranty that covers routine maintenance like retipping prongs or rhodium plating.
Read also: Best Places to Buy Diamond Engagement Rings