How I found my alternative Engagement Ring
I never expected to be on an engagement ring hunt at this point in my life but I've always known that a modern engagement ring design was NOT it for me! Styles that are popular now and ones that I've seen throughout my life didn't get me excited but there was something else about modern rings that I couldn't quite put my finger on...something that never sat quite right. Now I know it was because of the way that modern brilliant cut diamonds sparkled—I didn't like it! This may be an unpopular opinion but the facets just looked too sharp, too pointy, too same-same. I wanted something that looked different, a little unique but not too much, classic but still a little fun.
To put all of this jewellery business into perspective, ever since I was young I've always had an intense love of jewellery and a major appreciation of antique and vintage jewellery. I started this process with less knowledge and understanding of antique jewellery than I do now and I've poured more hours than I care to admit into searching and looking at all kinds of jewellery. It was only within the last year or so that I dug deeper into the styles that the different eras offered—from Georgian to Victorian to Edwardian and Art Deco. Lemme tell you, my eyes were OPENED.
It was also around this time that I met a mans (ha ha). Through his support and (learned) understanding of my jewellery obsession, I finally enrolled myself in a short metalsmithing course, opened up my jewellery account and started buying and selling antique, vintage and estate jewellery. I don't think I'd be doing this right now if it wasn't for him pushing me to do what I really wanted! This also meant that I began following a HUGE amount of sellers online and where I eventually ended up when searching for my future engagement ring towards the end of 2019.
From the timeline you can see that we knew we were IT for each other pretty quickly! My partner and I have always been super communicative in our relationship so we knew very early on that we wanted to be married. I think it was because of this openness that I had no issues in bringing up the idea of us shopping for a ring together. Because let's face it, I've turned out to be a picky gal and the process of searching for the perfect ring is so freaking fun for me!
In the second half of 2019 I had already begun the daily show and tell of beautiful rings I had seen online showing them to my partner—diamond and gemstone rings alike and not limited to engagement rings either. His view of jewellery started to open up as well and I could see that he was slowly but surely coming around to the idea of an Antique ring.
We were only a few months into our search when I had a few hopeful candidates to run by him but none got me the immediate 'YES!' reaction that I wanted. It was quite important to me that he and I both loved the ring.
On a lazy Saturday morning as I was scrolling through Instagram, this incredibly beautiful ring happened to pop up in my feed. I honestly think my heart skipped a beat! I quickly showed my partner and he immediately took to it. A good sign, this is what I stumbled upon—
Olga from @OldWorldTreasures had posted a teaser photo of this gorgeous five-stone old cut diamond ring. The proportions of the stones, style of the setting and detailing on the shoulders—it had everything that I was searching for and more! So you can imagine how quick I was to send her a message to ask about this ring. We put a deposit down within an hour of talking with Olga and paid it off on layaway.
Let me talk about price real quick—I'm pretty sure we all know that if you're purchasing a ring from a retail shop/department jewellery store the price is going to be INSANE for what you want to get or can get. While we were looking around it seemed $3000 to $4000 AUD was about the average minimum price for the diamond weight and style that I wanted (I was tossing up between a 3-stone and 5-stone). That price range was a bit more than what I wanted my partner to spend and I knew going for an antique piece from an independent seller could get us something really good (in terms of diamond specs) at a really good price.
The ring may not have been a surprise and the fact that I was to be engaged wasn't either didn't keep me from being completely blindsided by my Fiancé when he actually proposed to me (re: the official proposal). I suppose my proposal story should have its own blog post so I'll keep this vague and brief! My Fiancé proposed two days after my birthday in December 2019. Unfortunately the ring got stuck at the jewellers for a resizing job and valuation report so he didn't have the ring for when he popped the question.
So, after all this, there are three main takeaways I think you should keep in mind:
- Don't settle for a modern engagement ring design if it's not something you're after! It may be hard to wrap your head around what the *exact* look you're going for is but I implore you to have a look at Antique and Vintage jewellery and indie jewellery sellers on Etsy.
- Price! If what you're finding at the retail store isn't within your budget make sure you take a look online—specifically Etsy—or engage with the online IG jewellery community, there are so so many accounts selling beautiful engagement rings under $2000 AUD. Or opt for a different centre stone—look at sapphires and spinels in particular, they come in such a luscious and varied colour range.
- Be open to discussing your engagement ring choices with your partner and don't be afraid to pick out an alternative engagement ring together! Let your partner know what you like and dislike and if you'd prefer a surprise let them choose purchase the final ring in their own time.
I didn't have the typical experience of going to a few stores to try on rings but I will say this—don't be pressured by the sales associate to by a ring you don't 100% love. It's YOUR money and YOUR hand that the ring will be on forever.
There is a whole world of alternative options out there, you don't have hit up the usual suspects when choosing your own engagement ring. Take it easy and I hope have fun on your own engagement ring search!
Let your partner know what you like and dislike and if you’d prefer a surprise let them choose purchase the final ring in their own time.