Antique Art Deco Ring Buying Guide

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Antique Art Deco Ring Buying Guide

When choosing to buy a genuine art deco ring, a person can be sure that its style and craftsmanship continue to be admired for quite some time, which is why a number of modern day jewellers turn to the art deco period for inspiration. Buying an art deco ring can be equated with investing in a family heirloom, given the durability they offer in terms of the stones and metals used in their making.

Art deco rings can be purchased through various means, which include antique shops, pawn shops, specialised antique jewellery dealers, as well as online retailers like eBay. Irrespective of where a person buys an art deco ring, finding out about a few aspects make sense, which include: finding out just what classifies as art deco, the stones and metals used in their making, understanding the condition of any given ring, and how not all rating parameters applicable to modern jewellery are applicable when it comes to art deco rings.

Antique or Vintage?

When the term "antique" is used to describe jewellery, it is generally used to describe jewellery that is more than 100 years old, and when it comes to the art deco movement, even by the earliest estimates, it did not start before 1915, although popular notion places it in between the 1920s and 1940s. By this understanding, art deco jewellery, as of now, should be looked upon as vintage, although depending on any particular piece's date of origin, antiquity may well be just around the corner.

Jewellery less than 100 years old is looked upon as vintage. While many vintage art deco rings have been sold multiple times until now, some have also been passed through generations, never having left the families in question.

What Is Art Deco?

The art deco movement saw its origins in France, some experts say, as early as 1915, and its effect was visibly clear by the early 1920s. The period that followed was one where jazz, machinery, exploration, and eclecticism was in full swing, and although this movement's origins were seen in France, it did not take long to travel to other parts of Europe and elsewhere. An art deco ring's style is typically characterised by bold geometric patterns, rich colours, the use of precious stones, and filigree, which are lace-like patterns.

Art deco rings tend to offer a streamlined look, moving away from the previously plain Edwardian patterns, and a reflection of Native American, Asian, and Egyptian cultures can often be noticed. This period has had a lasting effect on the jewellery industry, given that it is also credited with the beginning of refined cutting techniques for cutting precious stones, like diamonds.

The popularity of art deco rings has not waned in any manner since they first came into being, and an increasing number of people in today's world are looking at buying art deco rings to serve as engagement rings. The detailing of some of these rings are of the highest order, and the handwork found on many art deco rings is almost impossible to duplicate.

The Metals and Stones

Art deco jewellery was made using different metals and stones. Art deco rings can be found in both white and yellow gold, and a number of art deco rings are made using platinum. The use of platinum when making rings saw an upsurge during the art deco period, and given the rise in platinum's popularity today, art deco platinum rings are finding many takers.

A number of coloured stones were also used to make art deco rings, although diamond was the most commonly used. The use of stones in contrasting colours was commonplace, and consumers can still find art deco rings where sapphires, emeralds, and rubies are used along with diamonds and encrusted in platinum. What is interesting to note, is that in a number of instances, green glass has been used to make up for emeralds.

Platinum

Platinum that is used to make jewellery is normally 90 per cent pure, and this rare, white metal that is naturally available is well known for its purity as well as strength. Given platinum's density, it was used during the art deco period to provide protection to diamonds and other gemstones. The use of platinum has only increased since then, and one definite advantage of using platinum is that it is a natural hypoallergenic substance that does not irritate even sensitive skin. Platinum rings are known to withstand years and years of wear and tear because they scratch far less than rings made using other metals.

Platinum, other than jewellery making, is used in many other ways, most of which are industrial. Prominent watchmakers, like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, and Vacheron Constantin are known to produce limited edition watches that use platinum, and the reason that it is favoured over gold is because of the fact that it wears out and tarnishes much slower in comparison.

Diamonds in Art Deco Rings

Although the rules for examining diamonds change when it comes to examining the diamonds used in vintage fine jewellery, like art deco rings, some basic rules still apply. For instance, cut grades below "very good" do not result in enough sparkle, and colour grades below H begin to show yellow tinges. As with modern day diamond rings, clearer colours and better cuts score over higher carat weights. Given that art deco rings use colour to good effect, you can look beyond traditional white diamond rings and look for those with yellow or black diamonds, coupled with stones, like sapphires and emeralds.

The Four Cs

When buying a diamond art deco ring, paying attention to the all important "Four Cs" is suggested. These help answer all of the questions that go into analysing a diamond's quality, and comprise of cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight.

The Colour

Although diamond colours are more a matter of preference as compared to the other aspects, many people in the art deco period preferred some colour in their diamonds. Consequently, buyers find diamonds with hues of green, yellow, and pink in a number of art deco rings.

The Clarity

The clarity of a diamond is established after taking into account the number of inclusions in the stone, their visibility, as well as their character. Although most prominent jewellers of yore do not compromise on quality, they did not carry today's scientific knowhow to look through these stones, which is why the clarity of diamonds in art deco rings should be duly addressed.

Carat Weight

The carat weight of a diamond is the most important aspect when it comes to pricing a diamond, wherein the larger the diamond, the more expensive the art deco ring. An advantage of diamond rings made during the art deco period is that the diamonds were encrusted in elaborately worked upon square-shaped boxes, which makes diamonds look bigger than they actually are.

The Cut

The cut of diamonds used in art deco rings needs special mention, because these diamonds should not be rated using modern standards. Techniques used to cut diamonds have changed significantly over this period. While diamonds in that era were primarily cut by hand, the use of precision lasers in cutting diamonds is commonplace in today's diamond cutting industry.

Since most of these diamonds were cut by hand, they are looked upon as those that offer a sentimental touch, and even diamonds in the art deco period were cut in various manners, as the following table indicates.
Choosing between these styles of cuts, again, is based on one's preference, and there is really no telling if one is better than the other. The craftsmanship of the cutting process, however, does play a role in how well any diamond is cut, and therefore, makes it an aspect worth considering.

Cut Style

Characteristics

Old mine cut

Square, rounded corners, small table, high crown

Cushion cut

Similar to mine cut, rectangular

Old European cut

Similar to mine cut, round

Asscher cut

Octagon, deep clipped corners

Rose cut

Cut to resemble opening rosebuds

Buying Antique Art Deco Rings on eBay

When buying art deco rings through eBay, you have the option of browsing through rings in different sizes; rings made using different stones, like diamonds, amethyst, crystal, garnet, and marcasite; and rings made using metals, like platinum, gold, and silver. If you have found any particular, seemingly expensive, art deco ring through an eBay seller, checking just how many pieces in total are up for sale should provide some indication about the ring's authenticity.

A number of modern day art deco look-alike rings are also made available through eBay, and in case you find buying the real deal to be too expensive, these present some interesting alternatives as well. When buying a genuine art deco ring through eBay, looking for rings that come with some kind of a certificate to prove their authenticity is definitely suggested. Also, since there are scores of options to browse through, it is best to sift through these options with patience as opposed to buying the first design you like.

Conclusion

Although diamonds have been used extensively during the art deco period, people also find art deco rings made using emerald, opals, jade, rubies, amethyst, and pearls. Since some softer stones, like opals, pearls, and emeralds can be cracked or damaged easily, buying rings made using these stones requires extra attention. The craftsmanship of a ring, along with the stones and metals it uses, go into pricing an art deco ring, and replica rings do not generally do justice to the craftsmanship aspect.

If you are looking for a diamond ring and budget is a constraint, looking for a diamond art deco ring can help, given that many of these come with designs that help magnify the size of the diamonds they carry. Bear in mind that the quality standards followed in today's world have no real bearing when it comes to buying art deco rings, and what is important is liking the ring you wish to buy. Prices of art deco rings can vary greatly, while a buyer could expect to find one for around four figures, some can also find rings that are priced over five figures.

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