With a flurry of engagements over the festive period and Valentine’s Day on the horizon, engagement season is at fever pitch. In fact, research shows that 40% of all proposals happen between December and February.* But with modern weddings now coming in all shapes and sizes, the engagement ring is no exception and as a result, Europe’s fastest growing online auction site Catawiki, has reported a spike in bids on antique rings.
Unlike the more classic style of a single solitaire diamond, antique rings offer something a little different, often with a story attached, for that one-of-a-kind bride. However, with so much choice, navigating the swathes of engagement rings may seem like a formidable task for those grooms-to-be with an untrained eye.
**Deborah Mazza**, trained gemologist and specialist auctioneer at Catawiki comments on the trend for vintage rings, “Over the last decade, there has been a significant shift in what people look for when choosing an engagement ring. Trends have moved away from the traditional solitaire style ring found in high-street stores and people are looking for something more out of the ordinary, which is why vintage rings have become so popular. But it pays to do your research when choosing vintage, and to ensure that your bride-to-be won’t be disappointed, go for a ring vetted by a certified gemologist, as they will be able to guarantee the quality and provenance of the ring. The rest is down to personal choice.”
**Louise Baltruschat Hollis**, who runs popular wedding site ‘Whimsical Wonderland Weddings’ has also commented on why, when it comes to engagement rings, every woman is looking for something different, “For any couple, their wedding is undoubtedly the most important day of their life. Therefore, it’s no wonder people like to do things differently to make it memorable and unique. Brides these days don’t conform to the generic ‘white weddings’; instead opting for something more personal, from festival chic to woodland ceremonies, and this sense of having something out of the ordinary starts with the engagement ring.”
However, the world of antique engagement rings can feel daunting due to the sheer variety out there. With this in mind, Catawiki and Deborah Mazza have compiled a guide on the top-selling antique styles for grooms-to-be:
If the bride-to-be likes colour, a Victorian engagement ring could prove to be a winning choice. The Victorians often used coloured gemstones including garnets, emeralds and sapphires, so rings from this time period are a great choice when looking for an alternative to the classic diamond solitaire.
Deborah Mazza comments, “Traditionally, when going for a coloured gemstone, people have tended to opt for a sapphire engagement ring due to its hard-wearing properties, and Kate Middleton setting the trend. For those looking for something for unusual but still with colour and durability, I would suggest looking for a ruby. Rubies have an excellent hardness, second only to diamond - and at a fraction of the price it’s no wonder we’ve seen a real demand for ruby rings.”
The antithesis to the simplicity of a traditional solitaire, Art Nouveau rings have a very distinctive style and are guaranteed to satisfy the tastes of a woman who likes to make a statement with her jewellery. Dating back to the late 19th century, art nouveau style is famed for intricate detailed designs and flowing curves, making it a bold choice for brides.
“Art Nouveau rings are very distinctive and with many of the designs dating back over a century, they carry a lot of history and have an element of romanticism to them. Often featuring numerous coloured stones in a delicate but intricate style, these unusual designs have regained popularity when it comes to engagement rings as women look for something more unique.”
The Art Deco movement first gained popularity in the 1920’s and the designs are typified by bold and geometric styles and angles, which break away from the flowing styles of the previous era.
“Art Deco jewellery has a seen a revival in popularity and vintage engagement rings of this style are very much in vogue. With films such as The Great Gatsby reigniting the trend for 1920s glamour, I’ve seen a real interest in rings from this period.”
**Antique Tiffany & Co**
And for some women, when only the best will do, look no further than a vintage Tiffany & Co. The crème de la crème of diamonds, Tiffany & Co has been making engagement rings since 1837 and whilst they often tend to be quite classic in style, by buying vintage you are guaranteed to get a style that feels less ‘off the shelf’ and also signifies a slice of history.
“When bidding on a Tiffany ring, always look for a certificate of authenticity and buy through a reputable auction house, as expert auctioneers will have examined them carefully, giving you piece of mind with your purchase.”
*According to a Chillisauce survey of 10,000 people published November 2015 http://www.chillisauce.co.uk/news/marriage-proposal/
Originally founded as a community for collectors by René Schoenmakers (CEO) and Marco Jansen (CTO) in 2008, Catawiki has since become the number one website for buying and selling extraordinary items.
Since 2011, Catawiki has been hosting weekly auctions, now in over 80 different categories, including classic cars, art, jewellery, books, and watches.
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