If you think that all couples wishing to get married are choosing only modern designs for their wedding rings … think again. This is because among them, there are many couples who are planning to have a more traditional wedding and more so because some such couples are into old-fashioned romance.
Believe it or not, the best place to search for antique wedding bands could be your own home and that of your partner’s. If both of you are lucky enough to possess family heirlooms in the form of antique style wedding rings, you could end up with authentic antique wedding rings and what’s more, for free. The advantage here is that if you wish to make alterations in the size and design of such rings to suit you, these can be carried out by any professional jeweler.
To cater to the special segment of couples looking for antique wedding rings, several jewelry stores and retailers have separate sections where you and your partner can find matching antique style wedding rings. Apart from such jewelry stores, there are many specialized, mail order jewelry catalogues and online jewelry stores which feature a wide range of antique wedding rings as well as antique filigree wedding rings.
However, it is important to be fully convinced of the legitimate status of such stores, the specification of the antique wedding rings you may order and the authenticity of the gem stones, should they form part of your rings. Photographs of antique style wedding rings in jewelry catalogues or online directories can be deceptive, therefore, you must be careful and exercise some caution.
History of Antique Engagement and Wedding Rings
The early Roman era is credited with the initial custom of giving rings for wedding purposes. After families reached a marriage agreement for their children, an engagement would be celebrated with an established rite. Engagement rings would be exchanged during this ceremony. The engagement ring would be placed on the left ring-finger in accordance to an Egyptian belief that that a very fine vein ran directly to the heart from the left finger. The Romans used an ancient clasped hand design for betrothal rings. This “fede” or “trust” ring remained popular for centuries and is still used in jewelry.
Typically antique wedding rings from the 19 th century and the 20 th century were plain gold bands. Many of these gold bands were engraved with expressions of affection or important dates. Gemstones in antique jewelry were expensive luxuries as trade with the Middle East and Asia had not yet allowed for the flow of imported stones.
The 1920s wedding rings used more geometric designs and colored stones. Art Deco engagement rings were constructed with old-mine cut, European-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds and set primarily in platinum or white gold.
During the 1940s, platinum was required for war efforts and was prohibited for other purposes in the U.S. Silver would often be used instead of platinum and jewelry hoarding occurred.
1960s and 1970s wedding rings would bring a change by using yellow gold mixed with diamonds instead of platinum, silver or white gold.
When shopping for antique and estate wedding rings it is important to confirm that the ring is symmetrical. It is also important to verify that all gemstones in estate engagement rings are tight and in good condition. Antique diamonds should be closely examined for chips or internal fractures.