Unless you are a collector of period pieces and vintage jewelry, you might be misled by the term ‘Estate Jewelry.’ This calls to mind an estate sale where everything is sold upon the death of a person in order to divide the assets among heirs or to pay off bills attached to the estate. Actually, estate diamond rings could be found at an estate sale, but most often they are either vintage or antique rings.
European Estate Rings Set the Pace
At the moment, European vintage and antique jewelry is trending. While most of us won’t make a trip to Europe just to look for antique jewelry, there is an easier and much more logical way to find estate diamond rings from Europe. Many online jewelers have a great selection of estate diamond rings from every country imaginable on the European continent. Pre-war Germany is hot as well as jewels from czarist Russia.
Georgian Era Estate Rings
Rose cut diamonds were popular in the Georgian Era (1714 – 1830) and there are a number of estate diamond rings that can be found online that are truly exquisite. Rings from this period were handcrafted and will sell for several thousand dollars. Depending on the condition of the ring and clarity and weight of the stones, a single ring could be quite expensive, but would be worth every penny of the price – especially to a collector.
Victorian Era Diamond Rings
Something that never ceases to amaze us is the fact that when you say “Victorian” you think of prim and proper with an almost ‘prudish’ underpinning. That was the moral bent of the time (1837 – 1901) but it was totally different when it came to jewelry. Victorian estate diamond rings are lavish and entirely feminine. They are among the most ornate pieces of any timeframe and truly amazing in artistry. A sapphire and diamond or ruby and diamond ring from this time period can fetch more than $25,000 dollars and again, be more than worth the price.
Art Nouveau Period
Pieces from the Art Nouveau period can also overlap the late Victorian Era (1890 – 1905) and often have characteristics of both. The lines can be inspired by the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, but with the flourishes and embellishments prevalent in Victorian jewelry. Art Nouveau estate diamond rings have sudden ‘whiplash’ curves and lines, but within those lines are Victorian flourishes at times. This is truly an interesting period as it takes a new direction in lines, but keeps the old in embellishments.
Edwardian and Art Deco Estate Diamond Rings
What an odd hodgepodge of styles were predominant throughout these two successive periods in the arts. Edwardian jewelry (1901 – 1910) borrowed highly from Art Nouveau while Art Deco (1920’s – 1930’s) was an eclectic mix that borrowed on anything and everything and mixed it all together. It is safe to say that most estate diamond rings from either the Edwardian or Art Deco Eras will have a mixture of styles that make these pieces truly outlandish at times. These rings are true collectors’ pieces and they will either be loved or hated. There is no such thing as indifference when it comes to this point in the history of art, fashion and jewelry.
When looking for estate diamond rings it is possible to find an assortment from other periods in history as well. Retro is trending at the moment and there are a number of pieces from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s that are available. Of course these are not as expensive as other earlier periods, unless of course the weight of the diamonds and quality of the precious metal calls for it. Whether you are a collector or simply looking for a unique ring (perhaps for a wedding or engagement ring!), estate diamond rings are a great place to start.