How to Shop for a Simple Vintage Engagement Ring

February 12, 2020 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog

The time has come to pop the question and you’re just missing one thing – the perfect engagement ring. You know she has her heart set on a vintage ring, and that she wants it to be simple and not flashy.

The ring has to be simple, yet classy and it needs to fit the correct vintage era. But unless you’re a jewelry expert, the hunt may seem like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Don’t worry, this article will help you find the perfect ring, but first thing first, let’s see what makes a vintage engagement ring simple.

What Is a Simple Vintage Engagement Ring?

Simple Vintage Engagement Ring on Finger

A simple vintage engagement ring is an engagement ring from a vintage era that features a simple and uncomplicated design.

There are two things you need to understand about simple vintage engagement rings. What makes a ring simple and what makes it vintage?

The latter part is easy. If the ring is between twenty and ninety-nine years old it’s vintage. In addition, these rings belong to a specific era, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco, etc.

Nevertheless, simple doesn’t mean the ring lacks weight, style, or value. A simple ring is subtle and each detail is carefully crafted for timeless elegance.

To explain, the ring’s halo and the setting isn’t complex, so the diamond’s 4 Cs can really come to life.

Top 13 Simple Vintage Engagement Rings

The following list features a curated selection of Estate Diamond Jewelry simple vintage engagement rings. And the pieces come from different eras so you’ll easily find the one that fits your budget.

Berge Ring – Circa 1940

12151 Simple Diamond Ring

The geometric design and a 0.75-carat diamond are the main highlights of this ring. In addition, the diamond features transitional cut, VS2 clarity, and I color.

The ring belongs to the Retro era and made in 18-karat white gold. The cute details that make the Berge stand out are the cut corners on the square bezel.

Antique Chicago – Ring Circa 1920

Antique Chicago Ring Circa 1920

Looking for an Art Deco Era ring? The Chicago Ring might be the thing you’re looking for. The center European-cut diamond will surely grab your attention. And milligram framed gems embellish the shoulders of this piece.

What’s more, the ring comes with a GIA certificate and the diamond is VS2 clarity, G color, and 0.79-carat.

Vintage Rome Ring – Circa 1905

Vintage Rome Ring

The Rome is a rare piece from the Edwardian Era. A beautiful 1.85-carat mine-cut diamond takes center stage. It’s of VS1 clarity and J color, plus there are extra 0.08 carats, making the total weight 1.92 carats.

Vintage Elm Park Ring – Ultimate Simplicity

Elm Park Antique Engagement Ring

Elm Park is a true show-stopper and the old European cut accents the diamond’s 4 Cs. Speaking of, the gemstone is UGL rated as VS2 clarity, J color, and 0.91-carat.

The diamond itself was cut in the 1920s and mounted in 1950. The setting is platinum and the shoulders sport a couple of baguette-cut diamonds.

Vintage Annecy Ring – Circa 1920

GIA-certified as H color, SI1 clarity, 1.16-carat ring, the Annecy Ring is an original French piece. The old European cut flows nicely with the pave-set diamonds on the shoulders.

To add a really nice detail, the crown that holds the diamond is made of platinum. The ring belongs to the Art Deco era.

Frier Ring – Circa 1925

Frier Engagement Ring on Fingers

The Frier is a great option if you’re on a tight budget but want an impressive piece. The diamond weighs about 0.31 carats and it’s VS2 clarity and I color.

Plus, there are a couple of channel-set diamonds on each shoulder and the ring itself is platinum.

Vintage Cedar Ring – Circa 1920

Cedar Engagement Ring Vintage a and simple

The moment you see the Cedar Ring it’s obvious that this ring has some stunning details. The diamond is rated as H color, VS2 clarity, and 0.80-carat. And the octagonal bezel accents the diamond’s cut.

The shoulders and the under-gallery feature openwork and engravings, making this piece a genuine Art Deco show-stopper.

Jersey Ring – Circa 1920

Vintage Jersey Simple Engagement Ring

This Art Deco piece has an eye-catching European-cut diamond as a centerpiece. The gem is GIA certified as VS2 clarity, H color, and 1.32 carats. The other highlights include platinum mounting and accent diamonds on the shoulders.

Kingbury Ring – Circa 1920

12385 Artistic Finger Simple Engagement Ring

It’s hard not to be impressed by the Kingbury Ring. The 3.44-carat diamond comes with a GIA certificate and it’s of VS2 clarity and H color. But there’s more.

The shoulders and the under-gallery feature French-cut diamonds. Plus, there are engravings along the sides of this platinum piece.

Vintage Tiffany Diamond Ring

Simple Vintage Tiffany Engagement Ring

Tiffany diamond rings need little introduction. And this piece has a 2.50-carat cushion-cut diamond of SI1 clarity and J color. Of course, the ring has been GIA certified.

To add some appeal, two baguettes flank the ring’s shoulders. And this Tiffany has a low profile which puts it in the late Art Deco style, around 1930.

Boudry Ring – Circa 1920

RJ12333 Finger Simple Ring

Can you guess the Boudry’s era? Yes, this is an Art Deco piece with a beautiful European-cut diamond. And the gem comes at 4.47 carats and it’s of VS2 clarity and K color.

Two baguette diamonds flank the central diamond and this solitaire is set in platinum.

1.27 Antique Tapered Baguette Ring

11454 Antique Tapered Baguette Ring Vintage

The name itself reveals the main highlights of the 1.27 Antique Ring. Aside from the decent weight, the diamond is of VS1 clarity and J color.

The cut is old European. In addition, there is one baguette diamond on each shoulder and the ring dates back to 1920.

Brilliant Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Simple Brilliant Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

If money is no object, this brilliant-cut piece should be right up your alley. The diamond weighs whooping 5.09 carats, it’s of SI2 clarity and H color and you can get an EGL certificate.

The mounting is platinum and a couple tapered baguettes flank the central stone.

Simple vs. Complex Vintage Engagement Rings

Simple Engagement Ring

As you can see from the selection, simple engagement rings can weigh 5.0 carats and feature certain embellishments. But what’s the difference between complex and simple rings?

To find the answer, you should take a closer look at each element of a vintage engagement ring.

Simple Vintage Settings

This is the precious metal base for the ring and it has two functions – to hold the diamond in place and add some decoration. More than a few settings are available and some of the most popular include:

  1. Bezel
  2. Tiffany (or prong)
  3. Tension
  4. Channel
  5. Pave

First to fourth settings usually appear on the simple vintage rings. To explain, these usually have one central stone, with little to no embellishments on the band. However, the tension setting often appears on more modern rings.

Anyway, the pave setting is as complex as they come. It provides exceptional sparkle to the ring and there might be a dozen or more rings on the band. And it’s not uncommon for pave rings to have a diamond-encrusted halo.


Things are a bit simpler when it comes to metal. You won’t be wrong to assume that a ring that features one precious metal can be simple. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s platinum, titanium, or any other metal.

However, a setting that combines two or more metals can be considered as complex.


Band characteristics such as style, shape, and width may make an engagement ring simple or complex.

For example, wide bands (those more than 5mm) provide more room for embellishments, filigree, and auxiliary diamonds. But a twisted band is more elegant and delicate, therefore it’s not uncommon with simple vintage rings.

The split shank is graceful and stylish. But if there are smaller gemstones along the shanks, the ring is complex. In addition, this band style may have a halo.

Diamonds and Gemstones

The rules are not set in stone, but simple vintage engagement rings usually feature colorless diamonds. There is one central stone and up to two smaller diamonds on the shoulders.

Adding more diamonds on the band or around the main stone will make the ring complex. And the same goes for colored diamonds and other gemstones. In fact, if a ring has two or more rubies around the central stone it’s complex.


As for the cut, it doesn’t really determine a diamond’s complexity. There are simple vintage rings with quite an intricate cut and the idea is to let the shape speak for itself.

All other elements, or lack thereof, accentuate the cut of the main stone. And if you want to get a cut which can be regarded as simple, go for emerald.

In addition to elegance and class, this style doesn’t seem to go out of fashion.

Shopping Tips and Tricks

Halo Engagement Ring

A vintage engagement ring might be in the top ten most expensive purchases you’ll ever make. Therefore, you need to make an educated decision. Here are the things you should keep in mind.


Yes, you want to impress the future spouse and it’s easy to get seduced by a diamond’s glam and glitter. But you need to play things smart and determine the budget you’re comfortable with.

Forget about the two-months salary rule. Set the number that provides enough bling to impress the lady but doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Nevertheless, it’s okay to stretch your budget a little. But don’t take out a loan to buy the ring. If you feel strongly about a piece that’s expensive, consider different financing options for the jewelry.

The 4 Cs

The diamond’s cut, clarity, carat, and color are the most important features. And with simple vintage rings, you have some room to splurge.

The carat is the feature that affects the price the most. But color, cut, and clarity are not second to the weight. The trick is to find the balance of the 4 Cs and match them to your budget.

USA Today states that the center stone is a bit over 1.0 carat on average. If you take this as a starting point, you have more room to get better clarity and color.

For example, the colors you should aim for are J, H, or I. Clarity-wise, VS1, VS2, SI1, and SI2 are good options. These labels show that there are some inclusions, but they might not be visible to the naked eye.

The Right Era

Rings that belong to Art Deco and date between 1920 and 1935 are among the most popular. Of the early ones, they may already be in the antique category.

The Art Deco rings are inspired by the Industrial Revolution and their cut and overall style reflect this. There are also Art Nouveau and Edwardian period rings, but these are true antiques.

Art Nouveau features a more floral design and their appearance can be quite subtle. The Edwardian period marked the marriage of platinum and diamonds. And these pieces can be reasonably expensive.

But if you’re not sure about the era, take a photo of the rings your loved one wears. Compare them to vintage engagement rings to determine the correct period.

Jeweler’s Reputation

Take your time to find the most reputable jeweler. The first thing to look for is if the dealer is a member of trade associations.

For example, the membership in the Jewelers of America is a good sign you’re dealing with a trustworthy jeweler. But you shouldn’t forget about the warranty, secure shipping, and certificates.

If a jeweler doesn’t provide at least two of these, it’s usually best to look for another one. When hunting for the perfect ring, you’d also want to check out the jeweler’s website.

It should be user-friendly, simple to navigate, and each ring should come with a comprehensive list of features. Ideally, you get access to online financing options. But this characteristic isn’t necessarily a benchmark for reputation.

Ring Size

The size here refers to the band. And a hundred years ago women typically had smaller hands and somewhat slimmer fingers.

Therefore, you may need to get the ring resized, but this is not always possible. Based on the setting, you might be able to get the ring only one or two sizes bigger or smaller. So, it’s advisable to aim for a size that’s as close to your girlfriend’s finger as possible.

The good news is that most jewelers will be willing to resize the ring free of charge. But some charge for the service and that’s why you need to ask.

How to Clean a Simple Vintage Ring

Engagement Ring next to Jewelry Cleaner

The best way to clean a simple vintage ring is to take it to your jeweler. You should do this two or three times a year, depending on how much the ring gets worn.

And if you get the ring from the Estate Diamond Jewelry, contact the company to get the ring cleaned free of charge. On the other hand, you can proceed to clean the ring yourself.

As a rule, you should avoid any harsh cleaning agents or abrasive cloths. Make a solution of water and liquid detergent and soak your ring in it for a few minutes.

After that, get a soft-bristle brush and give the ring a gentle clean. Finally, use a lint-free material to dry the ring.

Important Notes

Stones that are safer to clean with chemicals

Engagement rings that have pearls and emeralds require professional cleaning. The softer stones can get damaged. Therefore, it’s best to leave the cleaning to the experts.

On the other hand, there are a lot of cleaning products and polishing agents for vintage jewelry. Choosing one or another depends on the type of stone and metal.

It is possible to clean the ring with specialty chemicals. But you shouldn’t do it. Whenever you feel the ring is too dirty, take it to a professional.

Proper Handling

When taking off or picking up the ring, you should grab it by the band. If you hold it by the setting the natural oils from your hands might seep in and accumulate inside.

Cleaning the house with the ring on isn’t the best idea. Chemicals such as bleach, polishing agents, and chlorine should remain away from your ring.

Taking off the ring and using the chemicals with your bare hands isn’t enough. You need to wear gloves because some of the chemicals can transfer to the ring.

This goes double for vintage rings since the age makes the metal more delicate. One slip-up and you may permanently damage the ring’s prongs and milgrain.

In addition, you should avoid any manual work with your ring on. Yes, diamonds are the hardest material on earth, but they have a crystalline structure.

When exposed to continuous pressure, the crystals in the diamond may form tiny scratches or chips. Plus, you risk damaging the setting and the embellishments.

What’s more, you should also take the ring off for outdoor activities and sports. But this time it’s not about the damage, your ring may slip and get lost.

Do You Need Insurance for the Ring?

Insurance isn’t necessary, but it’s there to give you peace of mind. However, vintage diamond rings can get damaged, lost, or stolen. Just remember what happened to Kim Kardashian.

Therefore, it’s best to get your ring covered. Most insurance companies will allow you to add the ring to the house insurance policy or rental. But when that’s not an option, ask your insurer for a separate policy.

Click here to learn more about engagement ring insurance.

Final Thoughts

A simple vintage engagement ring has the power to become a family heirloom. Classic lines, leaf-motifs, old cuts, and tasteful embellishments allow these pieces to transcend trends.

And the best thing is, you don’t need to break the bank to get a really cool vintage engagement ring. This article has provided you with more than enough options to choose from. Plus, you can further narrow down the choice if you use the Estate Diamond Jewelry browser extension.

So what are you waiting for? Go on and make your pick.