What You Need to Know About Buying Vintage



Thinking of buying a vintage engagement ring?

You may be surprised to know there are many excellent reasons you should consider purchasing a pre-loved token of affection. Christa Lambert explains the top four reasons and provides some advice on what to look out for when you buy antique:

  1. Hand crafted and one-of-a-kind – If your significant other loves unique pieces, you can be sure the vintage ring you propose with will never be seen on another hand. Each antique piece was handcrafted by skilled jewellers prior to the introduction of modern equipment used today to create jewellery, such as CAD and growing machines. Antique pieces were hand crafted; added details such as engraving and milgrain all required much more time, patience, and skill. The precision details of the past just cannot be duplicated to the same degree by today’s modern methods.
  2. Exceptional value, get more for your budget – Why pay retail prices, when you can purchase a piece of equal value for a fraction of the price? Retail prices are based on market value of the metal and gemstones, plus an average of 200-300% mark up (sometimes even more). Auction estimates are primarily based on the market value of materials. And bear in mind that many antique dealers actually buy their stock at auction, adding their markup when it enters their display case. Chances are you'll find a deal by participating in an auction, and perhaps even be able to buy a larger diamond than you thought your budget could afford.
  3. A historical piece makes an excellent heirloom – Each antique ring tells a story. It’s fascinating to learn about the older cut of diamonds, materials used, and the different styles that date a piece. Perhaps there is a hallmark that will provide information on a country of origin or a maker mark that gives the piece historical significance. Speaking with a Waddington’s specialist you can learn all about your ring of choice and share its romantic story with your intended.
  4. It’s a more environmentally safe and ethical choice – In today’s world we’re increasingly conscious of the footprint we leave on this earth and make choices acordingly. That includes being aware of the environmental impact of mining metals and gemstones. When purchasing a vintage piece, you’re not contributing to further damaging impact on our environment. For more information visit www.nodirtygold.com, a website making ripples and influencing retailers to take a stand against destructive mining.
"There is no such thing as clean gold, unless it’s recycled or vintage,” Alan Septoff, communications manager for the No Dirty Gold campaign.

What to be on the lookout for when buying an antique ring:

    1. Loose stones – A simple shake close to the ear is usually enough to tell if there are loose stones in a mount that would require tightening by a skilled jeweller.
    2. Wear on claws – Over time the claws that secure stones can wear down, leaving the gemstones susceptible to coming loose from the mount.
    3. Are the details intact? After years of wear, details can be softened. In the case where rings have been worn next to each other, some details may be worn off completely.
    4. Thickness of the shank – After years of wear, a shank may have been worn quite thin. Antique rings sometime require a shank replacement.
    5. Have there been alterations or repairs to the piece? Using a jeweller’s loop, study the piece to see if there have been changes. You may notice globs of solder that have not been removed properly. Parts may have been added or removed from a piece. Poor quality repair or alterations can detract from a piece’s beauty and value.
    6. Have old-cut diamonds been replaced with modern-cut stones?  Using a jeweller’s loop, examine the diamonds. Do the cuts match? Often, older stones have been lost and replaced with modern cuts.
    7. Is the ring the right size / can the size be adjusted? Not all rings can be sized without damaging the structural integrity of the ring, or details such as enamel inlay. Ask a Waddington’s specialist if it is possible to size the ring you're interested in.

The good news is that many of the above problems can be corrected by a skilled jeweller. Make sure you speak to one of Waddington’s jewellery specialists to find out if pieces can be restored and what are the costs associated with repairs that may be required.

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Posted: 8/1/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Christa Lambert

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