Jewelry Blog

Top 30 Simple Vintage Engagement Rings

Simple Vintage Engagement Rings in Showroom Examples with Afshin

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. One thing is for certain; simple vintage rings have withstood the test of time and proven to be excellent candidates for any marriage proposal.

The ring has to be simple, yet classy and it needs to be vintage. 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 to begin this journey to the perfect ring, let’s first see what makes a vintage engagement ring simple.

What Is a Simple Vintage Engagement Ring?

A simple vintage diamond engagement ring on a woman's 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 was made between twenty and ninety-nine years ago, then 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 aren’t complex, so the diamond’s 4 Cs can be showcased properly without any distraction.

Top 30 Simple Vintage Engagement Rings

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

1. Berge Ring – Circa 1940

A square ring featuring additional diamonds extending from a round center diamond.

Price: $4,000. Learn more about the Berge Ring.

The geometric design and 0.60-carat diamond set in box prongs are the main highlights of this ring. The transitional-cut stone has SI1 clarity and K color. The ring belongs to the Retro Era and was handcrafted in platinum. The extra details that make the Berge stand out are the sleek square head and the two rows of additional diamonds extending from each side of the main stone.

2. Virginia Ring – Circa 1950

A rounded white gold diamond engagement ring with a simple design.

Price: $4,000. Learn more about the Virginia Ring.

The vintage Virginia Ring features a 0.71-carat old European-cut center diamond with J color and VS1 clarity. The stone is set in box prongs within a rounded mounting that leads to tapered shoulders. What’s more, the 18k white gold mounting features fine milgrain and hand engravings which proceed down to the shank.

3. Osborne Ring – Circa 1960

A simple diamond engagement ring with tapered baguette diamonds on the shoulders.

Price: $60,000. Learn more about the Osborne Ring.

Although you don’t need to break the bank to get a simple vintage ring, higher quality and carat diamonds are available. Enter the Osborne Ring, a spectacular vintage piece featuring an impressive 3.04-carat GIA-certified round brilliant-cut diamond with I color and SI2 clarity. What’s more, a tapered baguette diamond adorns each shoulder contributing an additional 0.72 carats to the total weight.

4. Elm Park Ring – Circa 1955

A dainty platinum ring featuring tapered baguette-cut diamonds flanking the center diamond.

Price: $5,800. Learn more about the Elm Park Ring.

Handcrafted in platinum circa 1955, the elegant Elm Park Ring is a true show-stopper. The old European-cut center diamond of this Retro-era piece is GIA-certified as 0.76 carats with I color and SI1 clarity.

The main diamond itself was cut in the 1920s, while the platinum setting is further embellished by a tapered baguette-cut diamond on each shoulder.

5. Washington Ring – Circa 1950

Large emerald-cut diamond engagement ring with tapered baguette diamonds on the shoulders.

Price: Contact us. Learn more about the the Washington Ring.

The exquisite Washington Ring boasts what may be the largest diamond featured on this list. The impressive 6.49-carat emerald-cut diamond holds J color and SI2 clarity grades. What’s more, a tapered baguette-cut diamond adorns each shoulder. If you’re looking for “wow factor” in a ring that retains a simple design, then this is one of the best pieces to consider.

6. Frier Ring – Circa 1925

A delicate diamond ring with marquise-cut and single-cut diamonds on the shoulders.

Price: $5,500. Learn more about the Frier Ring.

The Frier is a great option if you’re on a tight budget but want an impressive piece. The center diamond weighs approximately 0.95 carats with SI1 clarity and I color. Additionally, a marquise-cut and a single-cut diamond decorate each shoulder in bezels.

7. Cedar Ring – Circa 1925

A diamond ring with bold triangular openwork shoulders and a square head.

Price: $2,200. Learn more about the Cedar Ring.

The stunning details of the Art Deco-era Cedar Ring’s design are clear the moment you see it. The 0.40-carat old European-cut diamond is I color and VS2 clarity. The square head connects to triangular shoulders with bold feather motif openwork. What’s more, the gallery and bridge are also decorated by bold openwork patterns.

8. Arezza Ring – Circa 1965

Yellow gold band with a blue center sapphire and two accent diamonds.

Price: $3,800. Learn more about the Arezza Ring.

The stunning Arezza maintains a simple design while offering an unconventional center stone. Indeed, the blue center sapphire and the 18k yellow gold band makes this a particularly colorful and interesting piece. The center stone is approximately 0.57 carats while the old mine-cut accent diamonds weigh approximately 0.15 carats each.

9. Celano Ring – Circa 1950

A rounded yellow gold band featuring a sapphire between two diamonds.

Price: $9,000. Learn more about the Celano Ring.

If the Arezza caught your eye, then you’ll be pleased to have the Celano as another option. This piece does resemble the Arezza quite closely, but with the key difference of higher stone weight and quality. The no-heat Burma sapphire is approximately 1.20 carats, while the accent diamonds total approximately 0.70 carats. Finally, the 14k yellow gold band features a more smooth and rounded shape.

10. Brilliant Cut Diamond Engagement Ring – 1950s to 1980s

A large brilliant-cut diamond ring with tapered baguette-cut diamonds on the shoulders.

Price: $88,000. Learn more about the Brilliant Cut Diamond Engagement Ring.

A stunning brilliant-cut diamond of 5.09 carats with H color and SI2 clarity sits in a four-prong setting between tapered baguette-cut diamonds. Finally, this huge stone holds an EGL certificate and the mounting is platinum.

11. Carthage Ring – Circa 1960

A solitaire diamond ring featuring a large diamond in six prongs.

Price: $65,000. Learn more about the Carthage Ring.

The magical Carthage is a solitaire engagement ring featuring a 4.04-carat old European-cut diamond in a six-prong setting. The diamond has J color and VS2 clarity, and the platinum mounting bears a French export mark.

12. Dutchess Ring – Circa 1950

A white gold ring with a large diamond and tapered baguette diamonds.

Price: $72,000. Learn more about the Dutchess Ring.

The Dutchess is a breathtaking engagement ring featuring a 4.25-carat center diamond accompanied by a tapered baguette-cut diamond on each shoulder. The large center diamond has K color and VS2 clarity, while the simple mounting is 14k white gold.

13. Fairmont Ring – Circa 1980

A dainty white gold ring with a diamond in four double prongs.

Price: $9,000. Learn more about the Fairmont Ring.

The 18k white gold Fairmont Ring features a delicate solitaire design. The center stone is a 1.29-carat old European-cut diamond with K color and VS1 clarity. The stone is held by four double prongs and the remainder of the sleek design is plain aside from the French hallmarks.

14. Califon Ring – Circa 1945

A dainty white gold diamond ring with a unique elevated prong setting.

Price: $2,500. Learn more about the Califon Ring.

The alluring Califon Ring features an overall dainty design but with a unique and bold setting. The 0.40-carat old mine-cut center diamond sits in an elevated eight-prong setting. The open setting provides maximum visibility of the diamond, allowing it to be viewed from all angles unobstructed. What’s more, this Retro-era piece is made of 14k white gold and features small diamonds on the shoulders.

15. Chatham Ring – Circa 1950

A solitaire engagement ring featuring a large diamond and a plain band.

Price: Contact us. Learn more about the Chatham Ring.

The stunning Chatham Ring features a simple solitaire design centered around a striking 4.08-carat diamond with K color and VS2 clarity. The diamond is not only quite large, but it’s also GIA-certified. Finally, the platinum band bears a French export mark.

16. Allentown Ring – Circa 1950

A white gold diamond ring with four accent diamonds.

Price: $4,000. Learn more about the Allentown Ring.

The bold and sleek Allentown Ring features a wide head hosting a 0.50-carat old European-cut diamond with I color and SI2 clarity. The stunning stone is set in box prongs and accompanied by two single-cut diamonds on each side. Finally, the mounting is 18k white gold.

17. Debonair Ring – Circa 1940

Am engagement ring with a large diamond and two small accent diamonds.

Price: $52,000. Learn more about the Debonair Ring.

The aptly named Retro-era Debonair Ring possesses an irresistible sophisticated charm. The center stone of this French piece is a large 3.65-carat old European-cut diamond with J color and VS1 clarity, while the accent stones flanking it are baguette-cut diamonds totaling approximately 0.10 carats. If you’re looking for a piece that is equally simple and impressive, then look no further.

18. Gatineau Ring – Circa 1945

A simple white gold ring with a large center diamond.

Price: $65,000. Learn more about the Gatineau Ring.

The opulent Gatineau is yet another impressive piece that manages to retain a design that is simultaneously simple and exceptional. The center stone is a GIA-certified old European-cut diamond with I color and SI1 clarity. The precious gem is quite large as well, weighing 3.42 carats. Finally, the 18k white gold mounting hosts two small diamonds on each shoulder totaling approximately 0.24 carats.

19. Liberty Ring – Circa 1945

A white gold diamond ring with diamond-adorned shoulders in a split shank.

Price: $. Learn more about the Ring.

Rings can be considered simple or complex, but ultimately they all fall somewhere along the spectrum with much subjectivity. With that in mind, the Liberty Ring is a simple piece that some may find pushes further in on that spectrum. Whether or not that is a good thing will depend on personal preference of course, but we think this piece is a perfect candidate to help gauge that line.

The center stone is a 1.90-carat diamond set in prongs, while the white gold mounting features a split shank design. Held by the shank, the shoulders display a dazzling array of milgrain bordered diamonds. Finally, the piece bears French hallmarks and the center stone has J color and VS2 clarity.

20. Melbourne Ring – Circa 1945

A yellow gold and platinum five-stone geometric diamond engagement ring.

Price: $2,800. Learn more about the Melbourne Ring.

The sleek and elegant Melbourne Ring features a simple yet unique design. The Retro-era piece features five diamonds totaling approximately 0.75 carats, 0.25 carats of which are contributed by the centermost stone. The stones have I-J color and VS2-SI1 clarity overall and the mounting is 18k yellow gold on platinum.

21. Cesena Ring – Circa 1950

A simple platinum and white gold solitaire diamond engagement ring.

Price: $10,500. Learn more about the Cesena Ring.

The delicate French-made Cesena Ring features a 1.45-carat old European-cut diamond held in a six-prong setting. The breathtaking stone has K color and VS2 clarity grades and is GIA-certified. Finally, the mounting is comprised of platinum and 18k white gold.

22. Waterford Ring – Circa 1950

A very large diamond flanked by delicate tapered baguette diamonds.

Price: Contact us. Learn more about the Waterford Ring.

If you’re looking for a simple engagement ring with a large diamond, then we highly recommend the vintage Waterford Ring. This spectacular piece centers around a 5.19-carat antique cushion-cut diamond. The center stone certainly gets the job done, but as an added bonus each shoulder is decorated with a tapered baguette-cut diamond totaling approximately 0.70 carats.

23. Hartford Ring – Circa 1970

A simple white gold diamond ring with tapered baguette diamonds.

Price: Contact us. Learn more about the Hartford Ring.

Handcrafted in 14k white gold circa 1970, the vintage Hartford Ring features a simple design centered around a large diamond set in four prongs. The gorgeous stone is GIA-certified as 4.24 carats with K color and VS1 clarity. What’s more, a tapered baguette-cut diamond adorns each of the shoulders totaling 0.40 carats.

24. Tiffany Emerald Ring – Circa 1950

A delicate ring featuring a light green emerald-cut emerald.

Price: $9,000. Learn more about the Tiffany Emerald Ring.

Although the Tiffany Emerald Ring is not exactly conventional, it is certainly simple! This charming regal piece features an enchanting 0.80-carat Colombian emerald with an emerald cut. What’s more, tapered baguette diamonds adorn the shoulders totaling 0.20 carats. This charming piece is sure to make your bride feel like a princess, and with a name like Tiffany, you’re sure to make an excellent impression.

25. Farsley Ring – Circa 1930

A delicate ring featuring a light green emerald-cut emerald.

Price: $2,200. Learn more about the Farsley Ring.

The dainty Farsley is a straightforward engagement ring featuring a 0.35-carat diamond with J color and VS1 clarity. What’s more, the shank is bordered with fine milgrain, while the center is lined with additional pavé-set diamonds.

26. Southwell Ring – Circa 1935

A platinum diamond ring with bold prongs and a sharp shank.

Price: $13,000. Learn more about the Southwell Ring.

Handcrafted in platinum circa 1935, the Art Deco-era Southwell Ring features an old European-cut center diamond GIA-certified as 1.06 carats with I color and VS2 clarity. The design consists of a sleek edged shank, bold prongs, and a distinct openwork gallery. Finally, a bezel-set baguette-cut diamond sits proudly on each shoulder.

27. Genesee Ring – Circa 1950

A simple platinum engagement ring with a very large Asscher-cut diamond.

Price: Contact us. Learn more about the Genesee Ring.

The solitaire Genesee engagement ring offers a huge diamond with a stunning Asscher cut. The breathtaking diamond is GIA-certified as 6.01 carats with K color and VVS2 clarity. The platinum band is plain and the mesmerizing stone is held by four double prongs.

28. Hornsby Ring – Circa 1930

A delicate diamond ring with distinct prongs and several accent diamonds.

Price: $17,600. Learn more about the Hornsby Ring.

The Hornsby Ring is equal parts charming and elegant. This simple piece features a GIA-certified 1.63-carat old European-cut center diamond with J color and VS1 clarity. The shining gem is held in box prongs comprised of four distinct clovers. Finally, additional diamonds adorn the shoulders bringing the total weight to approximately 1.77 carats.

29. Derby Ring – Circa 1930

A bold platinum engagement ring with diamonds along the shoulders.

Price: $3,200. Learn more about the Derby Ring.

The sparkling Derby Ring was handcrafted in France circa 1930, making this platinum piece an Art Deco Ring. The center diamond is held in four distinct prongs, weighs 0.65 carats, and has J color and VS2 clarity. Finally, additional diamonds along the shoulders enhance the striking center stone and bring the total carat weight of the piece to approximately 0.71.

30. Linz Ring – Circa 1925

A unique but relatively simple diamond engagement ring with accent diamonds.

Price: $. Learn more about the Linz Ring.

Wrapping up our list is the exquisite Linz Ring, another excellent piece to test the boundaries of what one may consider simple. Indeed, this piece has a bit more going on- distinct prons, a cohesive blend of differently shaped parts, and a small variety of additional diamonds. The center stone is a 1.19-carat old European-cut diamond with I color and SI2 clarity.

Simple vs. Complex Vintage Engagement Rings

A simple diamond engagement ring with baguette-cut diamonds on the shoulders.

As you can see from the selection, simple engagement rings can range in weight and feature certain embellishments. So, 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. Pavé

The first four 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.

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

Metal

Things are a bit simpler when it comes to the metal used. You won’t be wrong to assume that a ring featuring one type of metal would be considered simple. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s platinum, titanium, or any other metal.

Subsequently, a ring comprised of two or more metals would be considered complex.

Band

Band characteristics such as style, shape, and width may factor into the simplicity or complexity of an engagement ring.

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 might be considered complex.

Diamonds and Gemstones

The rules are not set in stone, but simple vintage engagement rings usually only 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 more complex. And the same goes for colored diamonds and other gemstones.

Cut

As for the cut, it doesn’t truly factor into a ring’s complexity; there are diamonds of an intricate cut on many simple vintage rings.

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

Shopping Tips and Tricks

A young couple shopping for a vintage 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.

Budget

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 settle on a budget that you’re comfortable with.

Forget about the “two months’ salary” rule. Set the number that strikes a balance between being impressive and not burning 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 central diamond’s cut, clarity, carat, and color are the ring’s 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 of an engagement ring is a bit over 1.00 carat on average. If you use this as a starting point, you have more room to get better clarity and color.

For example, the color grades 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.

Art Deco rings are inspired by the Industrial Revolution and their cut and overall style tend to reflect this. There are also Art Nouveau-era and Edwardian-era 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 any trade associations.

For example, 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, and 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 future spouse’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 so we encourage you 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.

If you get the ring from the Estate Diamond Jewelry, then feel free to contact the company to get your ring cleaned free of charge. Alternatively, if you wish to clean the ring yourself, then there are some things to keep in mind.

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 or emeralds require professional cleaning. The softer stones are vulnerable to damage, so 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 should avoid doing so. When you feel the ring is too dirty, the best choice will always be to 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 head, then 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 is a great start, but to be safe you should also wear gloves so no chemicals transfer from your hands to the ring.

This is especially important for vintage rings since the age makes the metal more delicate. One slip-up and you may permanently damage the ring.

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.

Finally, you should also take the ring off for outdoor activities and sports. But this tip is less about the risk of damage and more about preventing your ring from getting lost.

Do You Need Insurance for the Ring?

Insurance isn’t always necessary, but it’s there to give you peace of mind. However, vintage diamond rings can get damaged, lost, or stolen.

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

Final Thoughts

Five simple vintage engagement ring featuring various diamonds.

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 superb 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.

We’re Here to Help!

A jeweler assisting a customer with vintage rings in the EDJ showroom.

That was a lot of information and a lot of rings to consider. If you find yourself with some leftover questions or in need of advice, then please don’t hesitate to reach out. Simply fill out the contact form below and a vintage ring expert will assist you as soon as possible.

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About Benjamin Khordipour

Benjamin Khordipour is one of the jewelry researchers and gemologists at Estate Diamond Jewelry. He received his official gemological degrees from both the GIA and GUBELIN. He also regularly contributes to Business Insider, Forbes, Rapaport, CNBC, and Brides Magazine. Benjamin was born in New York and joined Estate Diamond Jewelry in 2014. He is passionate about vintage jewelry and diamonds. This blog was built on his strong belief that jewelers have a responsibility to properly educate their customers. In 2019, Benjamin co-authored the book The Engagement Ring Guide for Men. His favorite vintage jewelry era is the Art Deco Era and his favorite type of stone is the Kashmir Sapphire. He also collects rare antique pins.