The holidays are for friends, family, and looking ahead to the next chapter in life. Many people are starting that next chapter with an engagement ring. These days, shopping for this engagement ring often includes both partners, and becomes their first major purchase together.

Because fashion is cyclical, it should come as no surprise that art deco, combined with all things vintage, is back in style. Designers like Neil Lane and the eminent Vera Wang are looking to the 30s for inspiration, some manufacturers are reproducing original vintage designs, and estate jewelers are searching for original art deco engagement rings.

Patti Geolat, appraiser / estate jewelry buyer, has a busy month ahead of her. With five shows in December, Geolat is in the holiday mood and wants to share with you some trends she has seen regarding the purchase of vintage engagement rings. I stopped by to ask her what she has noticed in the buying patterns regarding vintage and vintage-inspired engagement rings and this is what she had to say:

The Brand Buyer

This designer-conscious consumer typically has no background in purchasing antique or vintage jewelry, but they are very confident and sure of what they want in their new purchase. They may shop at a local, more traditional retail jewelry store with whom they have an established buying history. Often, they are looking for pieces created by designers they are familiar with from a jeweler they already trust. These traditional retail stores may offer customizable designs, which is very appealing to some buyers who like to have a sense of making the ring their own.

Most traditional stores carry new jewelry, but there are some with pre-owned departments. However, unless they have a fully curated collection of pre-owned jewelry, they are unlikely to have a varied selection of vintage and antique engagement rings.

The Old Is New Buyer

Due to the craze for art deco design, some manufacturers are reproducing new pieces from vintage models, which is a middle ground that some buyers are looking for. If a retail store has experience in selling estate and pre-owned jewelry, they may carry some of these designs. If the store does not have a certain model a buyer wants in stock, they can order it. The newly finished ring is then cast from a vintage model, but usually with modern gemstones.

The Vintage Buyer

This person often has a passion for all things vintage, and recognizes the tremendous value in buying a pre-owned piece of jewelry. For estate jewelry, what you see is what is available, so the chase and search of finding the right piece drives them. They love the history and charm of being part of the legacy of the particular vintage ring. The old adage “They just don’t make them like they used to,” combined with that old world feel is what fuels their passion. Vintage engagement rings are not necessarily all handmade, but the hand-tooling and hand-finishing make each piece special. Estate jewelry also speaks to someone on a budget, because they understand the value of pre-owned jewelry.

Be on the lookout for Patti Geolat’s next show in December. And remember to get an appraisal of that that ring whether it is new or pre-loved. Call Judy for your appointment. 972.239.9314


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