Buying an antique or vintage engagement ring is all about provenance and personal taste, and in that sense is akin to buying fine wines. Valentines Day is not too far ahead, and buying that perfect ring for your beloved is something that you could start looking to do even now before Christmas: you can explore various different jewellers and see what sort of pieces are available. To begin with, one needs to look at the definition of antique and vintage, and this can be tricky because it depends who you listen to. For many years, an antique was something that is over 100 years old. Vintage was old, but not that old. However, appraisers have now relaxed that rule and say it only has to be 50 years old. Another source says that antique is over 80 years old, but anything over 20 years old is vintage! Yet another source says that vintage is only a conversational term and has no meaning, but then goes on to say that some people use the term to describe a ring that is new but styled to look older. Confusing, isn’t it? For our purposes, we are going to say that antique is anything from the Edwardian period or earlier, while vintage could be as late as the 1950’s. Many couples and grooms choose antique engagement rings in Devon because the bride likes the style of a specific era or because they want something that is unique. However, as one jeweller has said, antique engagement rings are becoming more and more difficult to find because rings get a lot of wear and tear, more so than any other item of jewellery. If you think about it, that is logical because we are always doing something with our hands, whether it’s the washing up, planting things in the garden, or pushing the car that won’t start. However, one thing is fairly certain when you invest in an antique engagement ring and that is that you are extremely unlikely ever to see one the same. One very important consideration when looking for antique engagement rings in Devon is to set a budget. You don’t want to bankrupt yourself for the sake of an engagement ring. Yes, you might find one that is very desirable, but living on sandwiches for the next three years is not something either of you would want to do. If you look for long enough, you are bound to come up with the perfect ring at the right price. It is a good idea to do a little research on antique jewellery and familiarise yourself with the “four C’s” – colour, clarity, cut, and carat. If you are going out shopping together, it can be a great day out – or even days out – for the two of you, but you need to be realistic with each other to avoid falling out. However, if you are the groom shopping on your own it is a great idea to have a rummage through her jewellery box if you can, to get an idea of the sorts of pieces she likes. This will also give you an idea of her ring size: you don’t want to go down on one knee and then find the ring only goes halfway down her finger! Sure, it can probably be re-sized, but you don’t want to spoil the moment. You could also commandeer one of her trusted girlfriends to go with you to offer advice about pieces you might like, and she may even know your future fiancee’s ring size. Another point is that not all antique rings can be re-sized without changing the aesthetics, so it is worth talking this through with the jeweller. You really need to visit several jewellers that deal in antique and vintage jewellery in order to get an idea of the styles and designs that are available. Furthermore, you may find a ring that you consider is perfect, but then find a similar one at another jeweller’s for half the price. Then again, if you are shopping together you may well find the perfect ring that is within budget at the first jeweller’s you walk into.