Buying your engagement ring is one of the most exciting (and time consuming!) purchases that many couples will make in their lifetimes. Deciding what kind of engagement ring you want can be an extremely time consuming process, considering ALL the different kinds of rings, jewelers, and options there are out there! Buying a vintage engagement ring is NOT the same thing as buying a newly made ring from a national jeweler. Vintage and antique engagement rings that are truly one-of-a-kind are also previously owned and loved, and therefore have a much different process to becoming yours than purchasing or designing a new ring. To help our wonderful customers (and potential customers!) successfully buy vintage, we've put together a list of steps to buy the perfect vintage engagement ring that was meant for you. 1. Do Your Research: There is SO MUCH research to be done when you're looking for the perfect vintage ring, and the first thing to do is get yourself educated! Learn about: The 4C's (click here), different metal options (Gold? Platinum? Palladium? White gold? There are so many choices!), historical diamond cuts and how they have changed over time (click here), and the different jewelry eras to determine which your favorite is, and narrow down your search (click here). 2. Know What "Vintage" Actually Means: The "vintage" trend really built up steam this year, but most people (really anyone who's not a Gemologist!) don't know what the term "vintage" actually means. There are 3 main categories of rings that appear to be from a past era: Antique, Vintage, and Vintage Inspired. The difference between these three is VERY important to understand while shopping vintage so you know exactly what you are purchasing! When a ring has been previously owned and was made over 100 years ago (so this year that would be before 1913, the end of the Edwardian era), we call it "antique". When a ring has been previously owned but it was made anytime in the last 100 years (after 1913), we call it "vintage". The rules get a little fuzzy in this category, but vintage typically refers to rings that are at least 20-30 years old, but less than 100 years old (1914-the 1980's), and have been previously owned. Finally, any ring that is newly made (NOT previously owned) but made to look like a vintage or antique ring is considered "vintage inspired". Most rings from national companies that are labeled "vintage" are actually "vintage-inspired" because they are brand new and have never been owned by anyone before. Knowing what "vintage" actually means will help you purchase a ring - maybe a vintage-inspired ring is what you're after, or maybe you're looking for a ring already rich with history that was made in another era. The choice is yours! 3. Understand The Return Policy: Make sure you read through and understand the return policy for any company you're considering purchasing a ring from. Whether it's shipping costs, ring damage during shipping, or a warranty, you want to know exactly what your options are and how to return the ring in case it's not the one. At Trumpet & Horn, we offer free overnight shipping & returns, and a 10-day period to decide whether it's your perfect ring or not. Also make sure you understand what's included with the price of your ring. Since vintage & antique rings are all previously owned and one-of-a-kind, chances are your ring isn't already the right size. Will the company you're purchasing from size the ring for you for free, and do they have experience in sizing vintage jewelry? (At T&H, the answer is YES, and YES.) 4. Check For a Diamond Certification: Don't buy a vintage ring without an independent diamond certification (such as EGL or GIA) if the main diamond is over 0.50ct. You want to make sure you have all of the information about the diamond you're buying (the exact weight, cut, clarity, and color), and a certification is also VERY important for insurance purposes, in case anything should ever happen to your ring. 5. Make Sure The Ring Is In Good Condition: Vintage rings have been loved throughout generations, and sometimes show a few signs of wear. Make sure the company you're purchasing from knows how to care for and prepare a vintage ring before it finds a new home! Most importantly... ALWAYS ask questions if you have them! We're available by phone or e-mail if you ever have any questions about buying vintage, and we're more than happy to help. Click here for our contact information... and happy shopping!