Friday, May 03, 2013
Sponsor Spotlight: 5 tips for buying antique rings
Today, more and more young couples are finding the uniqueness they are looking for in antique engagement rings. Nothing compares to an authentic piece of antique jewelry. Frank Gesner of Gesner Estate Jewelry says the trend is not likely to end any time soon. “Our retail locations and our online stores have experienced exponential growth in the past five years. People are no longer interested in seeing a ring worn by someone else." BBB While manufacturers try to capitalize on the growing trend by designing rings that look like antique or look like vintage rings, it's important to understand what you are looking for when shopping for an antique engagement ring. Here are five tips that will help...
Make sure it’s authentic
No matter the industry, whenever a product is popular and is in demand, manufacturers will try to capitalize on the market by making look-a-likes or replicas. A genuine antique is more than 50 years old. Make sure you can document the age of the piece before spending your hard-earned money on a piece that is mass produced.
The four Cs
With all diamond purchases, make sure that you consider the four Cs: color, carat, clarity and cut. Avoid any diamond with a color grade below H. Those are generally too yellow. When it comes to the cut of the diamond, make sure that you don't choose anything below very good -- you won't get the kind of sparkle that you are looking for. Clarity and carat weight are why diamonds are expensive. Obviously, the larger the stone, the more you can expect to pay. Vintage and antique diamonds were cut by hand, so keep that in mind when you are looking. Remember, no diamond is flawless.
Know in what era you ring was made
Generally, there are three eras to consider before you purchase your ring. Art Deco designs are generally colorful and often feature a center stone that is framed with a number of smaller, different colored stones to provide eye-catching contrast. The Edwardian Era is known for its use of platinum, pearls and diamonds. Victorian jewelry often includes intricate designs and different colored stones like sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.
Find a reputable dealer
Ultimately, you should be comfortable with the person or company you are buying your ring from, and that may take some time. Be patient. Reputable dealers are reputable because they have established relationships with consumers in the area, and you should do your best to try and contact some of those people. Most reputable dealers offer an opportunity to view vintage and antique jewelry without the pressure of a salesperson hovering nearby. Reputable dealers will offer documentation in the form of independent grading. If you are told there is no documentation and no grading papers, walk away. Be prepared to negotiate. Some people don't like to negotiate. If you are one of those, take somebody with you that isn't afraid to make an offer well below retail. The markup on jewelry is insanely high.
How much are you going to spend?
As you begin the process of searching for a ring, you will quickly discover that they are expensive. In fact, you will find yourself looking at prices before anything else. As a general rule, most people will tell you that spending 2 to 3 months salary is just about right.
[Photos via We Heart It]