Some women get a little queasy about popping a worn ring on their finger, but I am not one of them.
When Mr. Illustrator and I were first tossing around the idea of marriage, we debated whether or not I should get a diamond engagement ring. Diamonds are over-priced and there are still problems ensuring that their sales aren’t fueling conflicts. But, I grew up seeing my mom’s diamond ring on her finger, and to me, it symbolized marriage. I didn’t want to fund war, but I still wanted a diamond
So, we decided on an antique ring, a partly ethical and a partly aesthetic choice. I love the look and craftsmanship of antique jewelry, and I liked the idea of reusing an heirloom. I knew our money was going to a family and a small business, not funding conflict or mining new metal and gems.
When Mr. Illustrator proposed, he surprised me with a stunning art deco ring from the 1930s that he stumbled across at a local jeweler. It’s exactly what I wanted, and I constantly get compliments on how unique it is.
Later I found out we got a lot for our money. Our appraiser let us know that remaking the same quality diamond and platinum ring today would cost three times more than what we paid for it. Like designer clothing at a consignment store, vintage engagement rings have already been worn once, so they can go for significantly less than new ones.
As for my ring, I chose not to know much about its previous owner, other than that it had been in the same family for all of its 75-year lifespan. I consider it my ring, but I still appreciate its history. I like to imagine that it already stood behind one long and happy marriage, and now it’s sending those good vibes my way.