LAPADA Guide to Buying an Antique Engagement Ring

Anthea Gesua
Anthea Gesua
Anthea AG Antiques Ltd

LAPADA dealer Anthea Gesua of Anthea AG Antiques gives us her top tips for buying an antique engagement ring.

Finding the perfect antique engagement ring can seem like a daunting task, but longtime LAPADA member and antique jewellery specialist Anthea Gesua gives her best advice for making it an enjoyable process:

  1. Pay attention to the type of ring you are buying. The words ‘vintage’ and ‘Art Deco Style,’ when referring to a ring, can actually mean reproduction. If you want a truly antique engagement ring, look for the words Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco.
  2. Avoid stones that will break easily. Emeralds are brittle and can smash, soft opals and anything with enamel will chip, and calibre cut stones on the edge of a ring can fall out over time. In later jewellery sapphires and rubies have been heated to enhance their colour and this makes them more brittle so be sure to ask the dealer. Natural sapphires and rubies are more valuable as they are now very rare in later jewellery.
  3. Avoid rings that spread across the finger lengthwise. These rings are hard to wear with a wedding band, as the band would lift the ring up and dig it into the finger, as well as wear the metal and settings on the ring.
  4. Verify what type of metal the ring is set in. The best quality gems tend to be set in platinum because it is the most expensive metal.
  5. Look for quality and condition. Ask the dealer if there has been any restoration to the ring, and if so, at what period it occurred.


  1. Buy the best quality ring you can afford and you will not go wrong. Do not buy a ring because it is cheap. If an antique ring is genuine and unusual it will not be cheaper than a modern reproduction but it will retain its value.
  2. Be realistic. The three C’s – clarity, colour and carat – have been banded as the qualities to look for in a ring, but if you only have two or three thousand pounds to spend, you will not be able to get a D flawless stone.


  1. Ask the dealer if resizing the ring could affect the stone or compromise the ring in any way. And if you decide to resize it, make sure your dealer will do it for free the first time.


  1. Ask the dealer to check the claws before you collect the ring and make sure there are no rough edges to snag on clothing.
  2. Ask the seller if he or she will help maintain the ring, allowing you to bring it back from time to time to clean and check the settings to keep it in good condition.
  3. Respect your ring. Take it off while doing housework or other hard work to keep it from wearing and make time to clean it from hand creams and soaps it may collect.

Image courtesy of Gemalogue

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