Antique Art Deco Diamond Ring Buying Guide

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Antique Art Deco Diamond Ring Buying Guide

An antique Art Deco diamond ring is the perfect addition to any woman's jewellery collection. These pieces are much sought after for their bold, colourful designs, beauty, and intricacy. Antique items are defined as those that are at least 100 years old. Some Art Deco diamond rings may fall outside of this definition, but should not be overlooked as they can make excellent family heirlooms.

Before shopping for an antique Art Deco diamond ring, learn about Art Deco and what characterises the era. An understanding of precious metals and hallmarking helps buyers to make an informed purchasing decision. A basic understanding of diamond grading is beneficial in choosing the right ring. Although people often think that the size of a diamond is its most important feature, cut, clarity, and colour affect the diamond's brilliance and beauty. Antique Art Deco diamond rings are available from jewellers, antiques dealers, and auctions, and online from sources such as eBay.

What is Art Deco?

Art Deco is a visual design style that was popular between 1915 and 1935, and continued to influence jewellery design for decades after. The style reflects the period's playful and flamboyant attitudes and is characterised by rich colours, bold geometric shapes, and lavish ornamentation. Circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles were interwoven to form intricate designs. Stylised depictions of animals, people, plants, and ornaments, such as bows, were common. Diamonds were extremely popular and often accompanied by the bright colours of emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. Many of the great design houses, such as Tiffany, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels, are thought to have created their most iconic pieces during this time.

Understanding Precious Metals

Antique Art Deco diamond rings were most often made of gold, platinum, or silver. Gold is available in three variants: yellow, white, and rose. Yellow gold is gold in its natural colour. White gold is an alloy of pure gold and a white metal, and rose gold is a mixture of pure gold and copper. Platinum is a white metal that is often used in jewellery as it is durable and strong. Platinum is more expensive than gold and is often used in a nearly pure form. Silver is a white metal that is less expensive than gold and platinum. It is not as hard or durable as either metal and it is prone to oxidation.

Gold purity is measured in carats (ct) or as fineness. Fineness describes the purity of gold in parts per 1,000. Pure gold is rated as 990 and is known as 24 carat gold. At this level the pure gold content is higher than 99 percent. The table below shows the most common purity ratings for gold, the corresponding percentages of gold in the mixture, and the fineness rating.

Purity (ct)

Percentage of Gold

















It is important to note that white and rose gold can never be 24 carat. These are alloys and contain other metals that give them their colour. The highest gold content available in either of these types of gold is 22 carat.

Hallmarking for Precious Metals

Jewellery and other objects made of precious metals are hallmarked to show buyers the purity of the metal and that it has been assessed by a third party. Hallmarks are stamped into the metal and can usually be found on the inside band of rings. Today, the maker's mark is required in addition to the fineness and Assay Office marks, but this may be missing from items from antique rings. However, hallmarking has been in operation for centuries and items produced in the UK between 1915 and 1935 should be marked to show the purity of the metal and where they were assessed.

Understanding Diamond Grading

When buying an antique Art Deco diamond ring, understanding how diamonds are graded is essential. This process takes into account the Four Cs in order to determine the quality and value of diamonds. These are the cut, clarity, colour, and carat.

Diamond Cut

Diamond cut refers more to the proportions of the diamond than its shape. What makes a diamond beautiful is the way that light passes through it. This is affected by how it is cut and polished. A well cut diamond allows a large amount of light to pass through it. A poorly cut diamond, one that is cut too deeply or too shallow, allows the light to enter through the top of the stone and escape through the bottom. Although size does matter, a well cut smaller diamond is often worth more than a badly cut larger one.

Diamond Clarity

The clarity of a diamond is determined by the number of flaws, or inclusions, in the diamond when it is viewed under 10 times magnification. An inclusion interferes with the way that light passes through the diamond, so diamonds with fewer inclusions tend to be more beautiful. Diamonds are graded from flawless to imperfect. The table below provides a short summary of clarity grades.

Clarity Grade





Internally flawless with minor surface blemishes

VVS1 and VVS2

Extremely small inclusions

VS1 and VS2

Very small inclusions

SI1 and SI2

Small inclusions

I1, I2, and I3


Inclusions visible to the naked eye

Diamonds used in jewellery do not have to be flawless to be beautiful. Ring settings often mask clarity problems and many feel that diamonds with inclusions that are visible to the naked eye are still beautiful.

Diamond Colour

A diamond's colour further affects the way that light passes through it. A colourless diamond allows light to pass easily and these diamonds are the most sought after. Diamonds are usually graded from D, which is colourless, to Z, which is light yellow. In some cases the difference between the grades is visible only to trained assessors. D, E, and F grades are colourless; G to J are near colourless; K to M are faintly yellow; N to R are very light yellow; and S to Z are light yellow.

The colours in diamonds come from elements in the soil that tint the diamond when it is being formed. Blue and pink diamonds are exceptionally rare and more expensive than white diamonds. In these colours, inclusions do not necessarily decrease the value of the stone if these flaws create interesting effects when refracting light.

Diamond Carat

The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. Although the term is used for both gemstones and precious metals, the meaning is not the same. Carat for gemstones refers to weight, whereas for precious metals it refers to metal purity. All things being equal, the higher the carat, the more expensive the diamond. Diamonds over one carat are significantly more expensive than those weighing less than a carat. However, diamonds can have the same carat weight, but their values may differ due to their cut, clarity, and colour. When shopping for an antique Art Deco diamond ring, focus on diamond quality before size.

Buying an Antique Art Deco Diamond Ring on eBay

Buying an antique Art Deco diamond ring on eBay is easy. Simply type a phrase, for example "sapphire and diamond Art Deco ring", into the search bar, which is conveniently located on every page, to see the items available from eBay sellers. Refine your search by choosing the most appropriate category and the desired item features. To narrow or expand your search, use the advanced search feature.

Evaluating the Item and the Seller

Before buying on eBay, take a moment to evaluate the item and the seller. Click on an individual listing to view the item listing page. Here you can find all the information that you need to make an informed buying decision. This includes the full item description and photos, buying options, the seller's accepted payment methods, postage and packaging costs, and the seller's feedback information. If you have any questions about the listing, contact the seller by clicking the "Ask a question" link.

eBay's seller feedback feature allows you to see what other buyers have to say about a particular seller's products and customer service. To view this information, click on the number next to the seller's username. Detailed seller ratings provide additional information about aspects such as the seller's communication, the accuracy of the item description in the listing, and the reasonableness of postage and packaging costs.


Buying an antique Art Deco ring is easy if the buyer knows what to look for. The Art Deco period stretched from 1915 to 1935 and jewellery created in this era is characterised by rich colours, lavish ornamentation, and bold geometric shapes. Intricate designs, stylised forms, and ornaments, such as bows, were popular. Art Deco continued to influence jewellery design for decades.

Understanding which metals were used and what purity ratings mean helps buyers to understand pricing and what they are buying. Yellow, white, and rose gold were popular, as were platinum and silver. Platinum tends to be used in a nearly pure form and is the most expensive of these metals, while silver is the least expensive. White and rose gold can never be 24 carat as these types of gold get their colour from the addition of white metals and copper. In addition, understanding diamond grading ensures that the ring bought is of the expected quality and that a reasonable price is paid for it. eBay sellers offer a wide variety of antique Art Deco rings at competitive prices.

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