14 January 2012

Antique Engagement Ring Buying Tips

Sam Rogers of Brides Magazine recently got in touch about engagment rings.  Below is an article that was a result of chatting to one of our jewellery dealers, Olly Gerrish.  You can read the original article on bridesmagazine.co.uk by clicking here.

Antique Engagement Ring Buying Tips by Sam Rogers.

Olly Gerrish is one of the many friendly faces that will greet you upon arriving at Grays Antiques Market, home to one of the world's largest and most diverse collections of fine antiques, jewellery, and vintage fashion. The Antique Jewellery Company, an online version of her and her business partner Jo Elton's stand in the famous antique market showcases their beautiful rings and jewellery. With over 30 years experience of selling antique jewellery, we thought Olly would be the perfect person to give us some expert tips on buying an antique engagement ring:

Why opt for an antique or vintage engagement ring?
"Because the chances are that you will never see another one like it. We only purchase unusual original rings that are well made and have stood the test of time. You will not be wearing a uniform like so many single-stone diamond rings that modern makers produce, but something unique which is a real talking point."

What should you ask when buying an antique ring?
"You should always ask what the carat of the gold is (18 or 15 carat) which a lot of antique rings were made in. Nowadays the norm is 14 carats, so don't be surprised if a dealer says the ring is 15 carat. Some rings are not marked but have been tested with acid to ascertain the quality of the gold. Also ask about the size of the stones: the dealer should be able to tell you the carat weight. Enquire about the quality of the stones; colour and clarity. This is important with diamonds which can be colour and clarity graded, if they are large enough. Small diamonds can fairly easily be assessed with a loupe. You should also look for chips, if they are drawing colour, and internal marks which all affect the value. Ask if the ring has been restored in any way. This is important, although old resizing is perfectly permissible."

How is buying an antique ring different to buying a new ring?
"Yes, it is a whole different experience. You get to meet a host of dealers who are enthusiastic about what they are selling - they will really put their money where their mouth is. It is important to go to a reputable dealer, and at Grays there are well known dealers who have years of experience. The market is also very competitive, so the prices will be fair."

What sort of price ranges or budgets would you say are the 'average' price of a vintage ring?
"Anything from £500 to £3,000 will buy you a really gorgeous ring with real history."

What is your top tip on choosing engagement rings for newly engaged couples?
"Do your market research; look at web sites such as ours, make a shortlist then come in to Grays and view the rings. Once there, ask to look at the ring with a loop - the dealer will be happy to assist you. Prepare some questions on condition, size of stones, age etc. and away you go!"

To see Olly's ring visit www.antiquejewellerycompany.com or for more information visit www.graysantiques.com to find your dream antique engagement ring.


  1. really nice blog and thank you for all the information you have some really good tips here!,maybe you can help me i'm looking for antique wedding bands and i don't really know where to look ,thank you again for all the infor and for your help

  2. Thanks for your kind comment. Grays jewellery dealers have a huge selection of wedding bands. You can see some one the Grays website, www.graysantiques.com however this is only a small fraction of what we our jewellery dealers have in store.

  3. I just take a peek and I discovered your post. I find it nice and really informative. It has a great content. big thanks for sharing.

    Charles A

  4. Very informative blog. Its about how to get the best jewelry for your wedding or engagement like engagement rings.
    jewelers in boise idaho

  5. Unfortunately very few people will fully understand the beauty of vintage rings and risk to buy one.

  6. Like love, a unique engagement ring is something that can last forever like those antique rings you have there, and diamond rings as well ! :)

  7. Awesome information in here. Thanks for sharing these tips from Olly Gerrish. Antiques are not the most common choices for engagement rings but for exquisite pickers like me, I would prefer something that probably has a 2% chance of similarity with other rings out there. Also, this is a detailed guide for antique collectors. Thanks for all these good info.

  8. What’s different about buying a vintage ring is that the seller will definitely take sentimental value into account. Basically, if the ring has more history behind it, it’s more expensive. While this may be true on certain occasions, you have to keep an objective mind and prioritize the quality of the ring before making any decisions.

  9. we thought Olly would be the perfect engagement rings person to give us some expert tips on buying an antique engagement ring:


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