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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Tania Leslau

Best vintage and second-hand engagement rings

Shopping for an engagement ring is a momentous task. The jewel is a symbol of your commitment to your partner in crime, the love of your life and the person you’ll be doing life with until death do you part. No pressure.

It doesn’t help that potential proposers are faced with a barrage of intricate details to ponder. Gone are the days when the sole question asked was ‘gold or platinum?’. Today, one must select whether it's a princess or solitaire cut, lab-grown or natural diamonds, the 4Cs (cut, carat, colour and clarity) and even emerald or sapphire. The choices are endless.

While some partners like to exercise their creativity and design an engagement ring, others would rather hedge their bets with a creation thought up by professionals. Not to mention, it can be terrifying trying to guess what ring your partner would like. This is potentially something they have been dreaming about for years, so you don’t want to drop the ball, especially with such a high price point at stake.

One way to ensure that your chosen ring is a hit is by shopping second-hand. At first thought, this may not scream luxury, but antique and vintage engagement rings are some of the most exquisite up for grabs.

A flash of prismatic sapphires, glittering diamond baguette cuts, honied gold settings and iridescent oval rubies are just a handful of treasures that second-hand engagement rings can display. There’s no need to bust brain cells trying to conjure up a one-off ring design - antique options have it all there waiting for you.

Pre-loved jewels also tell a story. Some even hold secrets. The previous owners of your ring may have been childhood sweethearts or star-crossed lovers. Their love stories may be filled with twists and turns, trials and tribulations - a disapproving parent or a forbidden romance. Perhaps it was smooth sailing from the get-go and they were simply meant to be. There’s no way of knowing for sure, but it's a romantic idea.

Vintage engagement rings have long been popular with celebrities, and in particular, the royals. In 2010, the Prince of Wales presented Kate Middleton with his mother’s vintage engagement ring, a dazzling oval-shaped blue sapphire surrounded by a halo of pavé diamonds on a white gold band. A three-carat sapphire dating back to the Edwardian era was Hollywood hero Javier Bardem’s pick for his now-wife Penelope Cruz. Orlando Bloom did equally as well, proposing to Katy Perry with a 19th-century diamond-encrusted ruby in a unique floral cut.

If you’re reading this, then we can assume one of two things. A) you’re planning on popping the question or b) you’re browsing for your wedding moodboard in an attempt to drop some serious hints. When it comes to sparkle, do you think that less is more or is the more the merrier? The same goes for shape and practicality as sometimes, size really does matter.

Uncover the world of pre-loved engagement rings and pick a storied treasure for your partner to cherish forever. Her ‘something old’ awaits.

Shop now

Pre-Owned 18ct Gold 1.01ct Princess Cut Diamond Solitaire Ring

Plan a proposal of a lifetime with this beautiful princess-cut diamond ring in a stunning solitaire style. The band is made from 9-carat gold and displays a soft, golden tone that helps the diamonds sparkle. With a brilliant array of carefully cut diamonds, this piece deserves a new lease of life.

Buy now £3495.00, William May

Kojis 18ct Gold Vintage Oscar Heyman Sapphire and Diamond Ring

Designed by Oscar Heyman, this 18-carat ring is a visual treat. Five brilliant cut diamonds, four baguette cut sapphires and a plain polished band culminate in a ring your fiance-to-be will not be able to resist. Perfect for partners who aren’t keen on the stand-out ‘rock’ aesthetic.

Buy now £3950.00, Liberty

18ct Yellow Gold 1.73ct Ruby and 1.18ct Brilliant Diamond Dress Ring

Think pink with a ruby-encrusted ring to steal the show. This pre-loved jewel is available in multiple sizes and features an oval ruby surrounded by two symmetrical streams of diamonds. Stack it with finer pieces or let the vibrant jewel speak for itself.

Buy now £3195.00, TH Baker

Artemer 18ct Gold Vintage Art Deco Baguette Crown Cluster Engagement Ring

This vintage engagement ring from fine jewellery brand Artemer is the most glamorous conversation starter. It’s crafted from solid 18-carat gold and features a slim band adorned with a round-cut centre diamond - and the diamonds don’t stop there. This central diamond is surrounded by tapered baguette-cut diamonds and pavé diamonds to create an Art Deco oyster silhouette. We’ll say yes to that.

Buy now £12000.00, Liberty

18ct Yellow Gold Emerald and Diamond Seven Stone Ring

Band-shaped engagement rings are becoming increasingly popular. Originally a silhouette reserved for eternity rings, the flattened design is a contemporary alternative to a classic solo diamond. This seven-stone ring boasts a glimmering array of emeralds and diamonds for those who appreciate a sprinkling of colour.

Buy now £495.00, The Jewel Hut

Pre-Owned 18ct Gold and Platinum Princess Cut Diamond Dress Ring

A surprise for her or a treat for yourself, William May’s pre-owned platinum and 18-carat gold tension set cluster ring is the party girl of engagement rings. White gold encircles a slew of princess-cut diamonds that will add a healthy dose of dazzle to your everyday.

Buy now £495.00, William May

18ct Yellow Gold Diamond Sapphire Fancy Cluster Ring

Yellow gold, diamonds and sapphires seamlessly marry to create the quintessential vintage ring. This pre-loved treasure adopts a classic antique look, thanks to its 18-carat gold claw-set oval sapphire, which is surrounded by 12 brilliant-cut diamonds. Shoulders encrusted with baguette-cut diamonds offer a glitzy cherry on top.

Buy now £975.00, The Jewel Hut

Victorian Emerald and Diamond Five Stone Engagement Ring

Hold a pocket of history in your hand with a Victorian ring. This emerald and diamond wonder dates back to the late 19th century. The British-made ring boasts a sublime square-cut emerald flanked by fellow smaller emeralds and crystal-clear diamonds. A special pick for a special person.

Buy now £3950.00, Antique Ring Boutique

Vintage Tiffany & Co. Ruby and Diamond Cluster Ring

Bring this vintage Tiffany number to life. The piece is centrally set with a romantic oval-cut ruby which is a four-claw set. A cluster of 10 round, brilliant-cut diamonds accompany the centrepiece gem, which are nestled in platinum. Pair with an eternity or wedding band for a kaleidoscopic array of hand candy.

Buy now £9250.00, Susannah Lovis

Pre-Owned 18ct Yellow Gold 2.34 Carat Diamond Solitaire Ring

Keep it simple with a classic diamond solitaire ring that doesn’t bend to trends. This 18-carat claw-set piece can be passed down for generations to come, due to its timeless appeal and elegant colour palette. Enjoy a blend of gold and silver tones, tied together by a glistening diamond.

Buy now £7796.75, William May

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