Antique Jewellery: would you, and do you, wear it?...

estate diamond engagement ring edwardian

When my husband proposed to me some 24 years ago, with the romantic, if somewhat pragmatic, observation "I think we should get married", his first question was

"What ring would you like?"

And my quick answer, without a second of hesitation, was "an antique one".

The answer possibly surprised him, because I didn't want a brand new large diamond solitaire set in platinum, which was definitely the fashion of the day.

What I was determined to find, instead, was a more subtle ring, hopefully one which was a little worn from a lifetime of enduring love and passion and sparkle.

And we found an Edwardian ring, made around the turn of the 19th century, with a classic band of gold and a row of 4 diamonds, which encompassed the simple beauty that I was after.

When the jewel valuer examined it, he declared that 3 of the diamonds were perfect, but that one had a slight flaw.

"The three perfect diamonds will represent our children, and the one with the flaw will represent me, as a reminder that I won't always be perfect" suggested my fiancé.

And with that beautiful wisdom, I nodded to the jeweller with the words, "that's the one for me."

antique engagement ring

As it turned out, the three diamonds did indeed predict the three children we would go on to have (not the perfect part...but of course, with a mother's bias, I do tend to think they venture towards that end of the scale, at least in the richness they have brought to our lives).

And the flawed diamond was a beautiful reminder that none of us are perfect, that each has our flaws, but that the beauty is there nonetheless.

I have never regretted choosing an antique estate ring over a new one, as I often wonder how many tales the little ring could tell, how many adventures did its previous carer go on, where did it travel, what was its life?

I love the reminder that the ring is mine as a gift, to cherish during my lifetime, and hope that some other person will one day cherish it too, during her lifetime. (Probably my own daughter, for the idea of passing down jewellery is a charming custom. Thinking of the sweet symbolism of the Duchess of Cambridge wearing Princess Diana's sapphire engagement ring as her own.)

Which leads me to my question to you... would you wear antique jewellery, whether rings or bracelets or cufflinks? Or as an engagement ring? Do you like a provenance or do you prefer new?